In the southeast corner of the grounds at Iolani Palace is a low mound that bears the Hawaiian language warning “Kapu.” Because the Hawaiian language doesn’t have the sounds of the consonants “t” and “b,” it would not make any sense if the sign red “Tabu.” Yet that is what it means.
Similarly, foods made from the pounded taro root are everywhere. Yet in Hawaiian, the word is written “kalo.” (There is no “r” in the language.)
The forbidden mound contains the remains of many old Hawaiian chieftains, or ali’i. Before the Iolani Palace was built in the late 19th century, there was an earlier, less European-looking palace that housed the great of O’ahu and the outlying islands. The earlier kings of the Kamehameha dynasty were buried there before a mausoleum was built to house their remains a mile or so to the west.
After the bones of the kings were removed, the Hawaiians had trouble identifying the other remains; so they fenced in the mound and made access to it Tabu.