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ISLAND HISTORY: Taniguchi ‘ohana’s mountain guides, paniolos and hunters

The Taniguchi ‘ohana is among the most numerous of families on Kaua‘i.

Three of the best-known Taniguchis were Hulu Taniguchi (1897-1933), Eddie Taniguchi, Sr. (1919-84), and Eddie Taniguchi, Jr. (1939-2020).

Born at Waimea, Kaua‘i, the son of Masazo and Kaliko Aukai Naumu Taniguchi, paniolo Hulu Taniguchi (1897-1933) was outstanding among Kaua‘i’s mountain guides.

He was familiar with every square mile of rugged, swampy Mount Waialeale.

Only he led U.S. Geological Survey personnel to the summit of Mount Waialeale to read the rainfall gauge during the early 1900s.

Hulu Taniguchi was also recognized as being the most successful pig hunter on Kaua‘i.

With the aid of his hunting dogs, he always bagged his quota of pigs during his treks to Waialeale’s summit.

Taniguchi and his party’s three-day ascents to the summit began on horseback at Waimea.

Upon reaching the highlands, the climbers would set up a staging campsite at Gay &Robinson’s Kaholuamanu Cabin, prior to hiking through the Alakai Swamp to Mount Waialeale.

Their second campsite was Keaku Cave, located only a mile from the summit, but it took a two-hour hike to reach it.

Geological Survey hydrographer William Hardy (1863-1950) once said, “The trail to Waialeale is the dimmest, most difficult to find and follow of any trail I have ever seen. Many times I took my compass out to find we were going backwards, or sideways, any direction but the right one.”

Through lack of use and fast-growing vegetation, Hulu’s old route to Waialeale’s summit has been lost.

And, since 1963, the use of helicopters has made climbing Mount Waialeale to measure the rainfall gauge unnecessary.

Hulu’s son, Eddie Taniguchi, Sr., a paniolo for Makaweli Ranch and rodeo cowboy, was legendary for his ability to find hunting trails in the mountains and in Waimea Canyon, and like his father, for leading rainfall gauge expeditions to Mount Waialeale.

His son, Eddie Taniguchi, Jr., although accidentally blinded in one eye as a child, went on to become a Makaweli Ranch paniolo and foreman, horse trainer, rodeo rider and roper, and taro farmer.
Source: The Garden Island

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