On 21 st July 2018 we were honoured by a visit from Hawaii.

It all started with an email query:

“I am a faculty member at the University of Hawaii and we are bringing a group of students to retrace the steps and tours of a study abroad program from Hawaii between 1880 and 1892. One student, ​Matthew Makalua, may have been buried there. Can you confirm this?” - Brandi Jean Nalani Balutski

Along the way this led to the discovery that his father-in-law, David Matthew Henry Dewar, was also buried in the cemetery.

You can see the state of the grave when we first found it on the first page; the cemetery staff kindly prepared it so the top was clearly visible when we arrived (by the 28 bus from the station, with the Mayor, Nigel Sinden in attendance.)

They had brought with them sand and water from Maui, Dr. Makalua’s island home, (there is a Makalua-puna Point there) which they laid around the grave, and then they laid flowers (they also gave us flowers to lay). The ceremony finished with more singing.


There was still (very dry) soil caught up in the inscription, and all 18 students and staff spent some time carefully dusting this out, with whatever came to hand, eyebrow brush, conifer twigs, tissues etc.  One person even offered their toothbrush.

When they were satisfied we stood round in a ring, holding hands, and one of the lads started singing, the others joining in. I was told later the first song was the song of their University, describing its place in the island, the climate, the surroundings.
Lā 12: Ua Lanakila i ka Malu o nā Lani

Several of them, including the student who is studying Dr. Makalua, then gave a speech (all this in Hawaiian).

It was all very moving, and also a delight. Hastings did itself proud, everyone they met were friendly and helpful and they said they could understand why Dr. Makalua remained here, instead of returning to Hawaii.

For more on Dr. Makalua, see the report of the University of Hawaii - Lā 9: Visiting Dr. Matthew Makalua (Hastings, England)

[A transcript can be obtained from OHPS, Hastings History House, 21, Courthouse Street]