Hastings recently hosted some students from the University of Hawaii. They were in England to study archives relating to an education programme instigated by King Kalakaua. They were met at Hastings station by Mayor of Hastings Councillor Nigel Sinden, Anne Scott and Marylin Saklatval from Friends of Hastings Cemetery, and accompanied for their visit to the grave of Dr. Matthew Everard Puakahakoililanimanuia Makalua, who is buried at Hastings cemetery.
Dr. Makalua was a recipient of the grant funding started by King Kalakaua of Hawaii, at the end of the 19th century to enable young Hawaiians to study in Great Britain. King Kalakaua met Thomas and Annie Brassey during the voyage of the ‘Sunbeam’ . He later visited them and Hastings in 1881 when on his world tour.
Matthew Makalua came to England in 1882 and started at a prep school before training as a doctor. He was the first native Hawaiian to qualify as a doctor. When qualified, Dr Makalua came to practice in St Leonards at 37 Pevensey Road. He met and married Miss Annie Clementina Dewar, the daughter of Reverend David Erskine Dewar and Elizabeth Ann Fane Parry, on 27 August 1888.
Dr Makalua was a highly respected man and was noted for his philanthropy; both he and his wife Annie were concerned with the welfare of the poor. He originated the scheme to collect tinfoil for the Druid’s Tinfoil Cot in the Royal East Sussex Hospital. He was medical officer of the L.G.O.C. (London General Omnibus Company) Convalescent home, Caple-ne-Ferne. Dr Makalua never returned to Hawaii. He died in 1929.
The mayor said, “It was an honour to be part of this very moving ceremony at the graveside of Dr Makalua.
The students brought water and sand from Hawaii and covered the grave with the Hawaiian flag [the only American state to have the flag of a foreign country on it, in this case our Union flag] and masses of flowers while singing Hawaiian songs.”
The party then returned to the seafront as they desperately missed ‘The ocean’, however they decided not to take a dip in the chillier waters of the English Channel!
• If you want to know more about Dr Makalua you can find him on friendsofhastingscemetery.org.uk website.