'Lardbird' might be a conscious contraction, or else an unwitting etymological derivative, of the common Mallard which, introduced onto the archipelago in the 1800's for hunting and domestic purposes, breeds in profusion on the larger islands. The feral Mallard is to be distinguished from the endangered Hawaiian Duck (native name Koloa) which is unique to Hawaii and is threatened by continued interbreeding with the feral mallard, so much so that the latter is starting to be culled. The Koloa, smaller and a darker brown that its common cousin, is a shy creature and shuns numbers, and will often be found as one of a pair in remote wetlands or streams. Its more gregarious cousin, however, will be found in flocks and almost anywhere vaguely wet, even near urban areas.
Hawaii remains the biggest producer of domestically-consumed pineapples in the world. They were introduced to the islands possibly as early as 1527 and cultivated in earnest by James Drummond Dole in 1901, not far from the Nine Valleys. He distributed canned pineapple all over the US, and was consequently dubbed the Pineapple King. At one stage Hawaii was the largest producer of pineapples in the world, supplying around 80 percent of the world's market, but its output has waned dramatically in recent years and Hawaii fails to rank among the top ten pineapple producers.
Sugar has played an even larger role in the islands' history. Between 1852 and 1930 waves of Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Filipinos emigrated to work on the plantations, which were often managed by draconian masters who segregated their work force along racial lines. The current racial picture is still very mixed, although the sugar industry in Hawaii is, like that of the pineapple, somewhat diminished. For the captains of the Hawaiian sugar industry – the sugar daddies, we could call them – the dolce vita has been stripped of its sweetness.
Pololu Valley is the most northerly of the Nine Valleys. Its name comes from the Hawaiian for 'long spear'.