The publication of the Memoirs of Henry Obookiah inspired the sending of the Sandwich Islands Mission to Hawai‘i from Boston in 1819. Henry Obookiah, a young Native Hawaiian man known in Hawai‘i as ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia, in 1808 left his life as an apprentice kahuna at Kealakekua Bay in Hawai‘i Island for the sea. He rose from sailor to scholar to evangelical Christian celebrity in New England. Obookiah’s life and death, as told in his memorial biography, made him a leading Second Great Awakening figure in America, Great Britain and beyond.
Cook tells Obookiah’s influence being at the foundation of the Sandwich Islands Mission in Hawai‘i; of the providential arrival of a wave of South Pacific Polynesian influence brought by Tahitian Christians both prior to and following the American missionaries arrival in Hawai‘i.