Ulukau Makes Twenty Years

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Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

By Keiki Kawaiaeʻa, PhD and Bob Stauffer, PhD

On the 14th of February – Valentine’s Day – in 1826, Tumamakolu (Kumamakolu) as bride married Aeheke as groom on Kauaʻi. We know this because a 200-year-old document recorded it. And the information – plus a copy of that document – is available on Ulukau.

Ulukau.org, the Hawaiian internet library, turns 20 years old this year.

The grandmother of Hawaiian internet sites, it by far remains the most used internet resource for ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and for Hawaiian resources, the most popular Indigenous language website in not only Hawaiʻi, but the country, and one of a handful of the most popular in the world.

Ulukau has made Hawaiian dictionaries available to a generation of Hawaiian students through its wehewehe.org and wikiwiki.org websites, which allow simultaneous ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi or English word searches through up to eight dictionaries.

Did you even know there were that many? And some of them are so scarce that they are bought at rare book markets for hundreds of dollars, but now all are available to be searched for free. And, separately, they can all be read cover-to-cover because they are also individually available from Ulukau’s digitized collection of over 300 books.

Kaniʻāina, separately written up in this issue of Ka Wai Ola, makes available hundreds of hours of interviews with mānaleo (native speakers) of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

The Place Names Collection uncovered tens of thousands of lost place names and their information – plus provides maps for a great many of them.

The Genealogy Collection provides tens of thousands more references for early marriages, divorces, and deaths – together with copies of most of the original documents.

The Newspapers Collection (later shared, along with other materials, with Ulukau’s sister website, OHA’s Papakilo database) brought back to life tens of thousands more pages of priceless writings in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

50,000 individual computer “clicks,” or hits, are made on some part of Ulukau every day, adding up to 1.5 million a month. Users come from all over the world, but the central group of participants are right here at home.