Ruling Chiefs of Hawaii
KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS PRESS • HONOLULU
Copyright © 1961
Revised Edition Copyright © 1992
SAMUEL M. KAMAKAU
Kamehameha Schools Press
1887 Makuakāne Street
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96817
Ka Nupepa Kuʻokoʻa, Aug. 17, 1867.
Death of Kamehameha
On Kamehameha's return to Kealakekua his first object was to pray to the gods and for this purpose he made tabu the heiau of Hikiau and then that of ʻOhiʻa- mukumuku at Kahaluʻu. This was the first annual tabu of the Makahiki since his return to Hawaii. There were many forms of worship in the old days. The principal purpose of the worship was to insure long life, "eyelids like a rat's, skin yellow as a dry pandanus leaf, to be carried in a net." No one prayed for the life of the soul (ʻuhane). Some believed that the soul lived forever, and that after the body died the soul would meet its guardian spirits (ʻaumakua). If these were Kane-hekili, Kane-wahi-lani, Ka-uila-nui-makeha-i-ka-lani, then if he were actually their offspring the soul would be taken to the heavens. If Pele and Hiʻiaka were his ʻaumakua, then the pit of Pele would be the soul's dwelling place, and so with souls that had other ʻaumakua. People who had no inherited dwelling place for the soul would worship a dead child, a parent, some close relative, or anyone else they wished in whatever form they desired, whether a shark, or bird; and these became what were known as ʻunihipili. It was never the object itself that was worshiped. The special form of worship was evident from the kind of house built for the god. If a house of ʻohiʻa wood was erected on the grounds of the heiau it was a haku ʻohiʻa,s a malu ʻohiʻa, an ʻohiʻa-ko'. Such a god house was one in which to pray to end rebellion, conspiracy, and war. The chiefs were fed upon pork offered at the ʻohiʻa houses and lama houses, called "dedicated pork" (puaʻa hea). The ground on which the house was built also indicated its purpose. Some houses were built of loulu palms, or they might be mere shelters. Such a god house was for [the purpose of prayer for] the fertility of soil that had become infertile; at the death of chiefs and commoners, or at a time of trouble of any kind, such as pestilence, barrenness in women or animals, famine; hence such a god house was set up in the place where the trouble occurred. A House-of-Lono was a god house, an ʻopua melemele, for the purpose of praying for rain or crops. It was erected on the site of the altar in an old heiau. It was against famine in the hot season and drought through scarcity of water.
A Ku-ʻula house was another form of god house, called a koʻa. Such houses and altars were erected close to seacoasts where schools of fish came, as altars for prayer to the fish gods, Ku-ʻula, Hina-puku-iʻa, and Kane-makua, to make the fish abundant. Many altars were set up for the prosperity of the land.
Such houses and altars could be set up by the king, the district chief, or the head fisherman alone; not all men could make such places of worship. But the Stone-of-Kane (Pohaku-o-Kane) consisting of a stone set upright in the shape of a pillar, every family and every countryman could erect as an altar where offerings were made to the god as penance for sins committed by any member of the family. Here he unburdened himself to the god by repentance for sins of the flesh and by prayer offered by the family. This Stone-of-Kane was a place of rest and refuge and the height from which a man conversed with the god in the heavens.*
The gods were worshiped and prayed to most often in heiaus of the Waihau, Unu, Hale-o-papa, Ku-ʻula, Koʻa, and Loulu types. There were ʻili-maiʻa, alaneo, ʻauhau-maʻule, ʻaleʻo, oeoe, ʻanuʻu kuapala, and lau houses. The gods whose names were mentioned in the prayers offered were Kane, Ku, Lono, and Kanaloa. These were not gods of wood and stone, they were not gods represented by objects that could be seen with the eyes and worshiped. At the time for prayer the whole congregation assembled, then they raised their hands as a sign that the true god was in the heavens as if pointing out with the hands that the true god was in the heavens. So they uttered the prayer in unison until its conclusion, then they lowered their arms. At family prayers the men and their sons, however many in number, entered the men's eating house carrying the Gourd-of-Lono, the gourd altar. This was a calabash covered with wicker-work and provided with string handles; within were food, fish, and ʻawa. A little piece of ʻawa root was tied to the handle outside. This gourd was taken and laid down at the door, and the person faced outward while he made his request to the god to save the chiefs, the commoners, and his own family; then, the prayer ended, he ate the food and the fish. So it was done [morning and] evening.
The Hawaiian people had the reputation of being a pious people who worshiped the god; hospitable, kindly, giving a welcome to strangers, affectionate, generous givers, who always invited strangers to sleep at the house and gave them food and fish without pay, and clothing for those who had little; a people ashamed to trade. This was their character before the coming of the foreigners and of Christianity to Hawaii. Now they are being taught to be close, stingy, hard-hearted, niggardly, to take pay for what is given and to be selfish. Some are following this teaching, but the larger part are still clinging to the old custom of hospitality. Those who are stingy and avaricious like Kukulu-ʻi, Pahia, and Ku-lei-o-iki have their names handed down to shame. How did the old Hawaiians acquire this character? They were a people who worshiped the god, who knew the story of the god, his power, wisdom, patience, good works, and long life; a people who knew of other lands and could distinguish good from evil; a people who knew the history of the ancient rulers and which had done right and which wrong. These rulers are mentioned in their prayers, legends, creation stories, genealogies; and other races besides are there named.
They did not worship idols before the coming of the Christians. No image was ever brought and put up before the congregation and knelt to in reverence. Ku-kaʻili-moku, Ku-ke-oloʻewa, Ku-hoʻoneʻe-nuʻu and the rest were never knelt to with knees to the ground. These were gods exceedingly tabu, not seen by the congregation. They were never left continuously in one heiau. Only when the tabu was proclaimed at night were they brought out, and this was the only time when these gods were borne along [except in time of war]. It was at this time that the feather gods were invoked, but only by the chief and the kahunas; the congregation waited outside the altar. These were merely signs of the gods who were not seen. The images placed along the paehumu were for decoration merely outside the heiau. They were not for worship, and no Hawaiian ever knelt to them.
The congregation on any great day of worship was always outside the altar at the time when prayer was offered, and the ruling chief was at the entrance of the heiau below the altar (lele) with his face turned to the congregation and the leading kahuna at his side. The chiefs and people remained facing the chief and the kahuna, in a kneeling position with the legs bent back straight from the knee and the body resting against them. When the kahuna reached that part in the prayer where a response by the people was called for, they raised the right hand and pointed to the heavens as a sign to the god that they were his people and asked his help, and they kept it raised for a long time. They repeated in concert that part of the prayer which belonged to the congregation, and when it came to the tabu portion, the short portion (kumalolohia) to trespass against which meant death, the worshipers bowed their heads without raising the body from its seated posture: then the last word was always spoken by the chief. But there was never any image set up before the congregation. This was the manner of worship in Hawaii up to the time of Kamehameha.
Kamehameha spent much time at Kailua rebuilding heiaus. With great labor he made tall images (keiki-puʻipuʻi) carved out of ʻohiʻa wood with grinning mouth, elongated head wearing a helmet, rounded thighs and legs, and below the feet a block of wood to plant in the ground. [These were made] as decoration outside the paehumu. There were forty such images on a single heiau and four hundred on some of the larger heiaus. They were erected outside the paehumu all around the heiau, and rows were set up on the path leading to the tabu drum. The image that stood at the sacred drum was Ku-ka-lepe-ʻoniʻoniʻo. These carved images were not objects of worship; the people did not kneel to them, nor did the kahunas worship them. They were hewn out of ʻohiʻa wood of the hamau, pane, uhiuhi, and lama species. They were made for decoration to make the god house handsome and attractive to the god when he came from heaven. For instance, in the story of ʻUmi and Liloa when ʻUmi offered sacrifices in the heiau of Moaʻula at Waipiʻo, the god Ku came down from the heavens in a black cloud and in a rainbow (ʻonohi) and licked up the offering with a tongue of fire. These images erected outside the heiau were not regarded as sacred, for at times they were used by the people who kept the houses of the gods to fire the cook ovens. Take the story of Ka-welo when he sailed for Kauai to make war. He set a tabu over the heiau of Puehu at Waiʻanae, and at the end of the sacrifice ordered that the wood of the paehumu, both the fence and the images themselves, be used for firewood for the expedition to Kauai. Kamehameha at this time rebuilt the heiau of ʻAhuʻena and made images for it and for Hikiau, the Hale-o-Keawe, and for other old heiaus.
Fishing was the occupation of Kamehameha's old age at Kailua. He would often go out with his fishermen to Kekaha off Kaʻelehuluhulu and when there had been a great catch of aku or ʻahi fish he would give it away to the chiefs and people, the cultivators and canoe makers. If word was brought that ʻahi were plentiful at Kalae, off went the chief to the ʻahi fishing, and he fished also at Kaulana, Kaʻilikiʻi, Pohue, Na-puʻu-o-Pele, Kapalilua, and at other places along the coast. During the season for flying fish he would sail to Kohala where the big schools ran and dispose of his catch to the cultivators of Kohala, Waimanu, and Waipiʻo. Kamehameha made a crafty bargain with the cultivators to give a single fish for a single bundle of pounded taro (paʻiʻai) or a calabash of poi, and so on. The cultivators lost on this, so they sought a way to get even with him, and wrapped up a single taro in a bundle and gave it to him for a single fish. Kamehameha said, "If the fisherman drives a crafty bargain, why should not the planter retort upon him? One cannot long play a one-sided game."
During the sixth and seventh years of Kamehameha's stay on Oahu several of the captains of the boats plying to and from Manila, Macao in China, and other places, informed the king and his chiefs that the fragrant sandalwood was a valuable article of trade with the people of China.* The king accordingly, when he return to Hawaii, sent his people to the mountains after this wood, which some of the foreigners had pointed out to him as to be found on these islands. The captains McCook, Ogden, Kawelipota [David Porter?], Winship, (Winihepa), Bartow, and David ʻOpeʻa-loa were among those who traded this wood in Macao and Canton for woolen, silk, and cotton cloth and other commodities. On the chief's return to Kailua, that return known as the Ka-niʻau-kani after the musical instrument that became popular at the time, he ordered men into the mountains of Kona and Ka-ʻu to cut sandalwood, paying them in cloth and in tapa material, food, and fish. Other men carried the wood to the landings of Kona and Ka-ʻu as well as of Kohala and Hamakua. The chiefs also were ordered to s.end out their men to cut sandalwood. This rush of labor to the mountains brought about a scarcity of cultivated food throughout the whole group. The people were forced to eat herbs and tree ferns, hence the famine called Hi-laulele, Haha-pilau, Laulele, Pualele, ʻAmaʻu, or Hapuʻu, from the wild plants resorted to. The chief immediately declared all sandalwood to be the property of the government and ordered the people to devote only part of their time to its cutting and to return to the cultivation of the land.
He himself and those who ate with him (ʻai-alo) toiled with their own hands to set out a large tract in the uplands of Kailua, known as Kuahewa. When the land had been cleared and taro tops planted the whole field was covered with fern leaves as mulch. As the taro grew large enough to pull the little ones were left to grow, and it was said that the field was productive for years without wild growth. The chief did not allow his men to help themselves to taro and tops for planting, as was the custom for those in power in time of scarcity. He believed in the rights of the common people, even their right of refusal to sell.
"You can get some over there, says Pahia," became a saying [as a taunt against such refusal]. Petty thieving, (ʻaihue), taking things without leave (lalau wale), robbery (hao wale), oppression (pakaha wale), taking without return (lawe wale), stealing (mokio), taking without the knowledge of the owner (lawe malu), were regarded as wrong in old Hawaii. It is told of Kamehameha that when he went out to find tops for planting his field he went to the place of a chief who owned a large planting of taro in upper Kuapehu. He knew that the chief was not at home but had left a favorite in charge.* Landing at Kaʻawaloa he walked up to the chief's place, which was not far off, and found the man in charge returned from the god house drunk with ʻawa and fast asleep. Kamehameha sat down therefore and began to rub his head. The man started up and asked, "Who is there?" "It is I, Kamehameha, come to ask Naihe for taro tops from Kuapehu." A wonderful ruling chief indeed, who could have taken anything he liked, but was thus kind and humble of heart! He was a true Christian ruler.
The attempt to sink a well at Kalae came about for two reasons. In the first place, South Point lacked water and it was an excellent place for ʻahi fishing. It was here that Ka-lani-ʻopuʻu had tried to find water. In the second place, Kamehameha suspected one of the Ka-ʻu chiefs of conspiring against him, a man named Kupakeʻe.† Kamehameha had tested the loyalty of the chiefs by summoning them to his presence, feeding them with food and fish, and supplying all their wants, but this man remained in the back country and fed a large following. Kamehameha desired to leave to Liholiho a united and peaceful government and he was sure that this man was endangering that peace. He therefore set sail with his chiefs, favorites, and his commoners from Kona and Ka-ʻu. [He took also] his expert in locations (kuhikuhi puʻuone) named Wai-ʻanae, who was to tell him how and where to sink the well. The place selected was at the spot called Ka-ʻilio-a-Lono (Dog of-Lono), and the digging was begun with energy, but the rock was too hard to work without foreign tools, and they obtained no water though they did make the holes which ships putting in at this place can tie up to and which are called "The water dug by Kamehameha" (Ka wai kuʻi a Kamehameha).
What with digging and fishing Kamehameha prolonged his stay and made many attempts to meet the chief Kupakeʻe, but all his attempts to trap the chief into a meeting failed. He therefore gave up the attempt and returned with his chiefs to Kona, leaving Ke-kuʻi-apo-iwa in Ka-ʻu with her husband Pueo, who lived in Waiohinu. They had been there but a year when it was reported that Ke-kuʻi-apo-iwa had fallen ill because her husband Pueo had defiled the things offered to the gods and she had eaten them in ignorance. Her nose and mouth had become covered with running sores, and she was not expected to live. The chiefs and chiefesses agreed to make Pueo his wife's death companion (moepuʻu), but when Kamehameha heard of this conspiracy he sent for Boki Ka-maʻuleʻule and ordered him to accompany the chiefs to Ka-ʻu and prevent Pueo's death by telling any chief who attempted to have Pueo killed that all men were tabu to the chief Liholiho, and that chief who attempted Pueo's death would be the death companion for Ke-kuʻi-apo-iwa. The chiefess died in 1815 at Kapaʻakea close to Kaʻaluʻalu at Kiolakaʻa, Ka-ʻu. She was the mother of Ke-opu-o-lani and the daughter of Ka-lola-pupuka-o-Hono-ka-wai-lani, a tabu, chiefess of Maui and Hawaii,
In November of this same year of the return of the chiefs from Ka-ʻu, a Russian warship came to Oahu and made trouble there by trying to take over the island. Kamehameha sent his war commander, Ka-lani-moku, the chief counselors, Ka-hekili Keʻe-au-moku, Ulu-maheihei Hoa-pili, Haiha Na-ihe, Pale-ka-luhi Ka-iki-o-ʻewa, and Pauli Ka-ʻo-lei-o-ku, together with chiefs and fighting men who had joined the king (okaka), and others besides, with orders if the Russians were peaceably inclined to supply them with vegetables and pork. When Ka-lani-moku found that everything was peaceful, he determined to erect a fort for the protection of the city and harbor of Honolulu, and a proclamation was issued calling people from all over the island to come to Honolulu and build the fort. The district chief of Waialua, Ka-hekili Keʻe-au-moku, was so busy collecting sandalwood that his district alone failed to respond to the call.
A few days after the building began, January 16, 1816, Pauli Ka-ʻo-lei-o-ku died in a mysterious way. Every day he had been to the fort working in company with the men who lived with him or on his lands. On this day he had worked late and came back to his home at Kaumakapili without being aware that his kahuna, Ka-maka-uila, had declared a tabu that evening and had a pig cooked for the god. The kahuna saw him [Pauli Ka-ʻo-lei-o-ku] passing at dusk and called him in to keep the tabu of the god and then return home. Pauli Ka-ʻo-lei-o-ku observed the tabu to its close, drank a cup of ʻawa, ate some pork, and went home. At the house he had Kia-loa prepare him a smoke and then went to sleep with Manono, his wife. Manono awoke late and found the chief groaning. She aroused the two tobacco keepers, Kia-loa and Ka-lohi, and they found him almost dead and foaming at the mouth. The chiefs and commoners were called and the wailing began. This Ka-ʻo-lei-o-ku was Kamehameha's first-born son. Kane-kapo-lei was his mother, the tabu wife of Ka-lani-ʻopuʻu while he was ruling over Hawaii. The kahili, emblem of the ruling chiefess, however, was given to Poʻo-uliuli. Should the reader fail to guess the reason for this man's sudden death, I can give you an explanation. At the completion of the fort, Ka-lani-moku and all the chiefs went to work cutting sandalwood at Wahiawa, Halemano, Puʻukapu, Kanewai, and the two Koʻolaus. The largest trees were at Wahiawa, and it was hard work dragging them to the beach. All the people were drawn into service, and the chiefs bought quantities of cloth, and some began to buy ships. The ruling chief of Kauai also secured cloth, muskets, and powder, and became the owner of several ships, two large vessels called Kamohelani and Mikapako and several smaller ones. [In 1818] Kamehameha bought a large ship [Santa Rosa, under Captain Turner] which was named Kalaholile after a kind of shiny blue cloth with white figures which was brought in on this ship. The ship had however been stolen by those who sold it, and a Spanish man-of-war took it away to return to its owners. Some of those who had stolen it were caught, made prisoners, and returned to Spain, and some were hidden at Kailua and became settlers (kamaʻaina) on the land. A black man of this island, named Manuel and called Nopa, is one of their descendants. From a ship wrecked on Kahoolawe about 1809 while Kamehameha was still living on Oahu came Mikapala and W. Harper, called Luʻau-eater (ʻAiluʻau), who became ancestors of some of our people. The search for a superior and the finding of a chief [to become one's lord (ʻimi haku)] was a custom considered high and honorable in old days and one which might carry the seeker from one end of the group to the other. On the other hand chiefs of rank sought trustworthy followers, generally among those of their own kin, to hold their kahili and cut their hair. War ceased when chiefs met each other and respected each other's tabus. This reverence extended from chiefs to commoners. It was thought a great and worthy object in life to go in search of a chief or for a chief to seek a trustworthy follower, and it was through the faithful care of such servants that chiefs grew strong and multiplied. The chiefs were anxious also to preserve the pure blood of their class by arranging marriages between chiefs and chiefesses. No one, not even Kamehameha himself, minded if the chief selected for his daughter was homely, old, weak-eyed, so long as he could satisfy the demand for a pure-blooded lineage. The mating to a sister or near relative, which was not permitted to lesser chiefs or the relatives of chiefs, was considered desirable between very high chiefs in order to produce children of divine rank who carried the sacred fire (ahi) tabu. Such a mating was for the purpose of bearing children, but the two need not become man and wife. Thus the chiefs multiplied, thrived, grew, and spread out over the land; but today we are taught that such practices are wrong.*
Kamehameha had many children of his own, but since a number died young their list is not complete. By his wife Kane-kapo-lei he had Pauli Ka-ʻo-lei-o-ku as his first-born. By Pele-uli Kekela he had Maheha Ka-pu-likoliko, Ka-hoʻano-ku-Kinau, Kaikoʻo-ka-lani, and Kiliwehi. By Ka-heihei-malie Ka-niu he had Kamehameha Iwi, Kameha-tnalu, and Ka-hoʻano-ku Kinaʻu. Ka-lani-kau-i-ka-ʻalaneo Ke-opu-o-lani was the mother of Ka-lani Kua-Liholiho, Ka-lani Kau-i-ke-aouli, and Haniet Nahi-ʻenaʻena. Kamehameha did not ordinarily take Ke-opu-o-lani as his sleeping companion. She was his niece and of so high a tabu that he had to take off his malo before he came into her presence, but he desired above everything to have children of the highest rank. His wife Ka-lani-kau-i-ka-ʻalaneo he took, not as an ordinary sleeping companion, for she was a tabu chiefess and he had to observe the tabu in her presence, but in order to beget children of high rank by blood. When he was an old man well on in years, white-haired but with the erect body of a soldier, without the flabbiness of age, and with the features of a young man, he took two young chiefesses to warm his old age. Ke-ka-ulu-ohi was the first-born child of her mother Ka-heihei-malie and her father was Ka-lei-mamahu'; Manono's mother was Kalola-a-Kumu-koʻa and her father was Ke-kua-manoha'. One of the two bore him his last child, a girl named Ka-papa-uai. Those of his children whom Kamehameha considered in the line of succession he always treated as though they were his gods. He always called them "grandchildren." Whenever he saw Liholiho approaching he would lie with his face upward, and the child would run and sit upon his chest. When the chiefesses saw Liholiho coming they had to drop their kapa covering. Kamehameha's granddaughter, Ke-ahi-knni Ke-kau-ʻonohi, daughter of Ka-hoʻano-ku Kinaʻu his son by Pele-uli, was also a tabu chiefess in whose presence the other chiefesses had to prostrate and uncover themselves, and Kamehameha would lie face upward while she sat on his chest. Such tabu chiefs were of old a mere legend; it was only in later times that anyone was allowed to see them. While still in possession of all his faculties Kamehameha proclaimed Ka-lani Kua-Liholiho heir to the kingdom after his death, and he was taken and given the tabu of the gods in the heiau. His god, Ku-kaʻili-moku, Kamehameha gave to Ka-ʻowa' Ke-kua-o-ka-lani. These two, the kingdom and the god, were considered of equal importance in ancient days. So Liloa had passed the two down to his two sons, the kingdom to Hakau, the god to ʻUmi, who however came into possession of the kingdom because the one to whom it was given failed to rule aright. Kamehameha now taught the two boys the history of the government and of the god.
Ka-ʻowa' Ke-kua-o-ka-lani was the son of Kiʻi-lawe-au whose mother was Manono the daughter of Alapaʻi-nui, and her father was Ka-lani-kupu-a-pa-i-ka-lani Keoua. Ka-ʻowa"s father was Ka-lani-malokuloku Ke-poʻo-o-ka-lani Ke-liʻi-maikaʻi, Kamehameha's own younger brother. He was a favorite child, was this Ke-kua-o-ka-lani, and Kamehameha kept him constantly with him. He was entitled to seize whatever he wished from a chief or anyone else. He would cry "Kaikaowa!" and his men would seize whatever they could. When the chiefs complained Kamehameha would reply, "It is well if he robs the chiefs and not the common people; that would be a real fault. He is a fatherless child and can do these things only while I am alive. When I am gone you will not pay any attention to him!" and these words of the chief came true.*
That he was solicitous for the future welfare of his son Liholiho and his other children is clear from the acts of his later years. He attempted to make a treaty with Great Britain. He received British war ships, officers, and men, and offered help to other British ships. He wrote to the king of Great Britain asking protection. He requested a British flag of the king to be used by the king and the officials of the Hawaiian government, and this request was granted by the premier in behalf of the ailing King George III. This same courteous treatment he gave to the Americans, provisioning their boats and, in 1810, celebrating the Fourth of July (for the first time in Hawaii) at a place called Ka-pa-uhi. Before this he had extended through Captains Ogden and Maxwell a welcome to the American officer Captain Kanaloa-ahua-kana. He did everything he could to preserve friendly relations with all countries. Troubles that arose were not of his making, and those that had to do with disputes about religion came after his time. He ordered the sandalwood cutters to spare the young trees and not to let the felled trees fall on the saplings. "Who are to have the young trees now that you are getting old?" he was asked and he answered, "When I die my chief and my children will inherit them." He gave similiar orders to bird catchers, canoe makers, weavers of feather capes, wood carvers, and fishermen. These are the acts of a wise and Christian king who has regard for the future of his children, but the old rulers of Hawaii did the same.
Kamehameha was born at Kapaʻakai, Kokoiki, Kohala, in 1736, just after the battle of Ka-hale-mamala-koa and before that of Kawela. He died May 8, 1819, at the age of eighty-three years. Fourteen years he fought to unite the islands and he ruled twenty-three years. It was in the seventh year of his rule over the group that the return to Hawaii called Ka-niʻau-kani took place. His death occured at night at Kamaka-honu, Kailua, Hawaii. He had been noted in his youth for his strength in the three forms of wrestling and in other sports. His strength lay in his shoulders, which were broad and muscular, and in his back. His powerful jaws showed energy and determination of character; in anger his eyes became bloodshot. But his outward appearance belied his true nature, for at heart he was a father to the orphan, a savior to the old and weak, a helper to the destitute, a farmer, fisherman, and cloth maker for the needy. When he died his body was still strong, his eyes were not dimmed, his head unbowed, nor did he lean upon a cane; it was only by his gray hair that one could tell his age.
He was a long time ill, and Ka-lani-moku and Keʻe-au-moku and the other chiefs who were away cutting sandalwood on Oahu were summoned back to Hawaii leaving Boki Ka-maʻuleʻule as governor of Oahu and a few chiefs with him. At the beginning of his illness he was treated by such men as Ku-aʻuaʻu, Ka-lani-moku, Kua-ka-mauna, and others who had attended the chief before and were experts in the medicinal art. They agreed that his illness would not yield to treatment, and Kua-ka-mauna told him, "The doctors have done all they can; you must place yourself in the hands of the god who alone has power over life and death." This was done in the following manner. At the direction of the leading kahuna an ʻohiʻa house was erected for Ku-kaʻili-moku, and a man demanded of the chief as a human sacrifice to the god. The people, hearing this request, all ran away and hid in the bush until the tabu should be lifted; only a few remained with the chiefs in attendance on the ruling chief. Kamehameha, however, refused to have a human sacrifice given, saying, "Men are sacred to the chief," meaning to his son Liholiho. The gods Ku-kaʻili-moku, Ku-ka-lani-hoʻoneʻe-nuʻu, and Ku-ke-oloʻewa were like rosaries worn about the neck in time of war or danger. During such a tabu ceremony, if the kahuna was allowed to continue his prayer to the end without interruption it was a sign that his request for life was granted. Ku-kaʻili-moku was in the old days a representative who acted as messenger of the god to whom the petition was offered. A sign to be noticed during the tabu was the movement of the feathers on the head of Ku-kaʻili-moku, which would stand out like hair charged with electricity and wave like a flag as a sign of consent to the request prayed for; or the god might fly from its stand to the head or shoulder or some part of the person it fancied, and this was a sign that the request had been favorably received. If none of the signs occurred the audience broke up with heavy hearts for this meant that the prayer was not granted. On this occasion Ku-kaʻili-moku gave no sign.
At the close of the kauila service the weakness of the chief increased, and at the next service he sent Liholiho in his place. The chiefs and the sons and daughters of Kamehameha had heard of a kahuna who had cured many people through his mana obtained from the gods, Pua and Kapo. Pua was another name for Kalai-pahoa, and the mudhen (ʻalae) was a form of Kapo. It was said that if these gods were brought into a house the sick would be healed. Once before the chief had been cured by this kahuna, who had not come himself but sent the gods to the chief's house. They therefore built two houses, one for the male (Pua) and the other for the female (Kapo) god. Kamehameha grew no better but steadily worse, and after three days they took him from these houses to his own sleeping house. At the close of the day he was carried to the eating house, where he took a mouthful of food and a swallow of water, but when he was asked to speak made no reply. About ten o'clock he was again carried to the eating house and again took a mouthful of food and a swallow of water. Ka-iki-o-ʻewa then asked him for a last word, saying, "We are all here, your younger brothers, your chiefs, your foreigner (Young). Give us a word." "For what purpose?" asked the chief. "As a saying for us" (I hua na makou). "Endless is the good that I have given you to enjoy" (E oni wale no ʻoukou i kuʻu pono ʻaʻole e pau). Then John Young put his arms about his neck and kissed him; Ulu-maheihei bent down and whispered that he be given charge of his bones. Kamehameha was then taken to the sleeping house. At midnight he was again moved to the eating house, but he began to gasp for breath when his head alone was inside the eating house while his body was still in the sleeping house. He was taken back to the sleeping house, and at two o'clock that morning his soul departed and he ceased to live.This constant carrying back and forth was to prevent his dying in the eating house and to avoid the defilement of eating in a house where he had slept with women; such defilement must be avoided lest the whole race perish in consequence.*
Kamehameha died on the night of Hoku, May (Kaʻelo) 14 according to the Oahu calendar, and a child of one of his daughters was named Fled-in-the-time-of-Hoku (Lele-io-hoku). A great dispute arose among the chiefs in the eating house (hale mua), and Ka-lani-moku reentered that house and ordered the crowd away lest those in the sleeping house (hale moe) hear the clamor; but there were two old men [who were particularly affected] and one remained and spoke with deep affection of the care the chief had given them. Ka-lani-moku returned to the sleeping house and the chiefs held a council as to the disposition of the body, one and another offering to take it. One chief said, "It will be impossible to hide it; let us eat him (ʻai-maka) in order to hide him away." Ka-ʻahu-manu said faintly, "This body is not ours; ours was the breath, the body belongs to one of the chiefs." Ulu-maheihei Hoa-pili said, "You have no right to the body; it belongs to my chief [Liholiho] and to me. We two alone have a right to the body; so Kamehameha willed." At the close of the council the body was carried to the prayer house to be in charge of the kahuna, and the pig for the mourning (ʻu-koʻ) was cooked. This pig for the mourning was a sacrifice to the god to make the soul live again and to preserve it to live with its ʻaumakua. The kahuna offered the sacrifice and the ruling chief freed the prayer. The kahuna then said, "If his death companion (moepuʻu) dies now we shall need but one; if we have to look for one outside we shall need four; but if we wait until he is borne to the burial place (hale lua) we must have ten; but if we enter the burial place and there get the death companion we must have fifteen. Therefore let one man die." With these words this kahuna's official acts ended.
The leading kahuna stood up, in his hand the pig which was to make an atonement for sin (hoʻokala hala) for the heir to the kingdom who had been defiled by coming into contact with (ehu ke kila) the corpse of the dead. This offering was to purify (huikala) and cleanse him (maʻemaʻe) then he must separate himself (kaʻawale) from this place of defilement (haumia). This was the common custom of these people in ancient days, both chiefs and commoners. Thus runs the prayer of purification from the defilement by a corpse:
E ma ka ʻai ku, e ma ka ʻai alo, Here is the food offered, here is
the food offered in your favor,
E ma ka ʻaia', e ma ka hele huna, Here is the food for the sin
offering; let him be hidden,
E ma ka hele paʻani; Let him go and play,
E ma ka uwe makena; Here let there be mourning,
O kukakau a ka hoʻoilina, For the dead and for his heir,
Papaeʻe - A kaluakoʻi, Let him be accepted where he is
laid to rest,
I hemu' ʻoia i heu, Let him go in peace,
I hemu' ʻoia - i hemu'. Let him go in silence.
At the close of the purification the kahuna Hewahewa said, "Where shall the ruling chief stay?" The chiefs responded in unison, "Where indeed? Are not you the one to choose the place?" "Since Kona is unclean, there are but two places for him to stay, Ka-ʻu and Kohala." So the chiefs chose Kohala because the people there were more loyal to the chief. At dawn of day the body was carried to the house of the dead (hale lua), and then for the first time the people were aware that their chief was dead, and they bewailed him with bitter weeping and gestures of despair and recalled with deep emotion his farming, fishing, and cloth making and all his fatherly acts toward them. A man named Ke-amo-hulihia was so wrought up with emotion when he saw the body borne along that he sprang upon the bier and attempted to anger the chiefs into making him into a death companion (moepuʻu) for Ka-mehameha, but since they had heard Kamehameha's command putting a tabu upon men for the chief Liholiho, they drove Ke-amo-hulihia away, and each time that he returned they refused. Ka-lani-moku also wished to be his death companion, but Hoʻokio prevented him. Formerly it was customary for chiefs to show their affection in this way without caring for their own lives; it was their way of repaying their chief's kindness. In the meantime when a land was defiled by the corpse of its ruling chief, it was considered in old days the proper thing for his heir to depart to another district for some days until the bones had been cleaned (hoʻomaʻemaʻe ia), covered with basketwork (kaʻai ia), and placed within the tower (ʻanuʻu) of the heiau, as the corpses of chiefs were prepared in old days for burial. In the early morning therefore Liholiho sailed and touched at Kawaihae. When the people of Kona and of neighboring places heard of the death of the chief the voice of weeping and wailing arose and the sound of lamentation and general mourning, recalling their regret and reciting their love for their chief. It would be impossible to describe all their ways of expressing love and sorrow, even to wishing to die with him. No nation on earth could have shown more grief and affection, and these manifestations of regret lasted many days.
There were in old days few kahunas of the devil-worshiping (ʻoihana diabolo) class who prayed men to death (kahuna ʻanaʻanaʻ). These were a tabu class to whom did not properly belong the slant-eyed, the bold, those who went from house to house, the covetous of other men's wealth, extortioners, askers of favors. The true kahuna of this class was a person who lived quietly, was lowly, unassuming, humble of heart, not a gad-about, not a seeker of companions, not a pleasure seeker, a proud talker, or covetous, but one who suppressed his lusts. This was the kind of man who represented the true sorcerer. The one who began first to harm another by sorcery was generally the one who died first. These persons secured from the devil himself their knowledge of sorcery by burning fires (kuni) and by sending spirits on errands of evil (ʻo). They were eaters of filth and of things defiled. When all the land was filled with mourning Kamehameha's sorcerers prepared their little fireplaces. Some believed that Kamehameha had died naturally of disease and old age, but others contended that he had not reached an age to die but had been prayed to death, and therefore it was that the fires were started for Kamehameha. The sorcerers knew by signs that there had been an attempt to get something belonging to the chief in order to put him to death. They set up tabu flags near fireplaces and set to work. When Ka-hekili Keʻe-au-moku got drunk and broke up the kahunas' doings, the people ascribed the chief's death to Ka-ʻahu-manu's family and spoke hard words against them without considering that Keʻe-au-moku was drunk at the time.*
At the end of the ten days needed to clean the bones, a small heiau was built and a tower (ʻanuʻu) set up in which the receptacle (kaʻai) was woven which was to contain the bones. It was then the kahuna's office to pray to the god to save the soul of the dead and bring it into the company of the god in the bosom of Wakea and not leave it to dwell with Milu in darkness. These prayers for the soul of the dead were called lupa or lupalupa, or if the deceased had no (inherited) part with the god then the prayer was called a "sacrifice" (kakuʻai). The "lamentation" (ʻulonokuʻ) and "intercession" (kahoahoa) were other forms of prayer offered. There were many such forms which served as a pathway to go before the god. People differed in their beliefs about the soul and the hereafter. Some thought that by worship- ing it they could get the soul of the dead to come and act as a guardian spirit (ʻaumakua) of the living; these are the souls that dwell in a good place.
After the kahuna had performed his office, Ulu-maheihei prepared to carry out the command of Kamehameha given before his death, at the time that he gave to Ulu-maheihei the name of Hoa-pili, to secrete his bones in a place where they could not be found. The chief's bones belonged by right to the family of Keawe-a-heulu and to the hidden burial places of its members from Kiolakaʻa and Waiohinu in Ka-ʻu, but Kamehameha doubted whether this family could keep the place secret, for the place where the bones of their father, Keoua, were hidden was pointed out on the cliffs of Kaʻawaloa. Kamehameha had therefore entrusted his bones to Ulu-maheihei Hoa-pili with instructions to put them in a place which would never be pointed out to anyone. At midnight, therefore, when black darkness had fallen and no one was likely to be on the road and the rough lava plains of Puʻuokaloa lay hushed, Hoa-pili sent his man, Hoʻolulu, to bring the container of wicker work in which the bones of Kamehameha were kept to Kaloko in Kekaha. Hoʻolulu, carrying the receptacle on his back and a gun in his hand, had reached the road over the lava of Puʻuokaloa when he mistook a rock for a man and shot at it. Some people at Kailua and Honokohau heard the report of the gun and surmised that the bones of Kamehameha were being carried away. The next morning Hoa-pili and Ke-opu-o-lani took canoe to Kaloko where Hoa-pili met the man who had charge of the secret cave and together they placed the bones there. "The morning star alone knows where Kamehameha's bones are guarded." It is said that the bones of Hono-ka-wai-lani's daughter, Kalola Pupuka, and those of Ka-hekili-nui ʻAhu-manu were secreted in this same cavern by Ka-meʻe-ia-moku and Ka-manawa.
It was an old custom to hide the bones of chiefs who were beloved, as ʻUmi's bones were hidden by Koi, in order that they might not be made into arrows to shoot rats with, into fishhooks, needles for sewing tapa, or kahili handles, as is still done today. There is a story told about the bones of Pae which illustrates this custom. Pae was a kahuna and high chief in the time of ʻUmi son of Liloa and a descendant of Lilinoe, the woman of the mountains. His daughter Kuku-ka-lani was the wife of ʻUmi's older brother Hakau, and his son Hoe is the ancestor of the Pae family today, the living and the dead. ʻUmi had been told by his prophets and diviners that the bones of Pae would make lucky fishhooks because of Pae's descent from Ku-hai-moana and Ku-ka-hau-ʻula, guardian gods (ʻawmakua) of fishermen. Therefore, in order to get these bones, ʻUmi was anxious to be on hand at the time of Pae's death, and although Pae was now a very old man ʻUmi was accustomed to take him out on his fishing expeditions. At that time the beach of ʻOhiki as far as Kaʻelehuluhulu was clear [of lava]. ʻUmi was out one day fishing with his chiefs at Makaula. Pae and his sons were in another canoe when Pae was stricken with sudden illness on the sea by Haleʻohiʻu and died there. ʻUmi said, "Take your father ashore and when I am through fishing we will all go up to mourn him."
When they were out of earshot of ʻUmi a man named Lulana, a kahu of Pae, said, "You sons of my lord (haku), let us go and hide the bones of your father, and when ʻUmi returns I will tell him that we lost the body, for I have heard that ʻUmi wants to get hold of his bones." They accordingly landed, hid the body, and later took the bones to the cliffs of Pali-hulaʻana. ʻUmi came to land at the usual place and heard the people on shore wailing, but could not see the body of Pae. "Where is the body of your father?" he asked, and the sons answered falsely, "While we were bringing him in to shore the canoe overturned and a shark took him." "Alas! how I loved Pae!" cried ʻUmi, and because he was so eager to have the bones of Pae he sent out orders to the sorcerers (kahuna ʻanaʻana') to pray to death the shark that had taken the body of Pae. Many of the diviners and seers sought the shark and the bones of Pae, and the search extended all over Hawaii.
Finally ʻUmi summoned Niho-nui-o-Kua-ka-wai-ea, a seer (kaula) from Kauai, with the promise of a rich reward if he found the bones of Pae.* Midway out in the channel of ʻAlenuihaha Niho-nui looked and saw the spirit (ʻuhane) of Pae drinking at the spring of Kawaikapu on the cliffs of Waimanu. He therefore went and got the bones and brought them to Kailua where ʻUmi was then living. ʻUmi welcomed the seer with the words, "I have sent for you to find the bones of Pae which his sons tell me a shark has eaten. If this is so I will get Piʻi-mai-waʻa and Ka-lae-puni to capture and kill the shark." Niho-nui replied, "Here are the bones of Pae. Send for his sons to come here, and fashion their father's bones into hooks. Take the two with you as fishing companions and when you are out at sea boast about the bone hooks." So ʻUmi took the sons of Pae fishing and the two baited the hooks. No sooner had they let them down than the ʻahi and kahala fish bit at them. ʻUmi then called out, "Say, Pae, hold on to our fish!" to which boasting words the sons replied with the boast, "The stars alone know where are Pae's bones. Not until you find the nest of the plover [which migrates to Alaska for nesting] will you find Pae's bones." But at the next catch ʻUmi again called out, "Say, Pae, hold fast to our catch!" The sons began to wonder and to suspect the truth and Hoe, Pae's son, began to be worried lest ʻUmi's boast be true. So he went to see for himself and found that the bones had disappeared, and this was the beginning of a feud between ʻUmi's family and the descendants of Pae. The story is told in the story of ʻUmi and in that of Kalani-kukuma.
You have perhaps heard of the desecration of the bones of Kapu-kamola, the mother of Iwi-kau-i-ka-ua, and of those of Ka-make-hau o-ku, daughter of Iwi-kau-i-ka-ua by Kapu-kini-akua. Ke-aka-mahana, the wife of Iwi-kau-i-ka-ua, was the one who desecrated the bones of these chiefs, and this was the principal reason why Iwi-kau-i-ka-ua left Hawaii and went to live on Oahu, because of the desecration of his mother's and daughter's bones. So were desecrated the bones and skull of Ka-uhi-a-Kama, ruling chief of Maui. Many of the ruling chiefs of old, even those who were not killed in battle, had their bones thus desecrated. One crafty old chief, Kaha-kauila, father of Ka-pela, the mother of Kau-mea-lani who composed the line "Bitterly cold is Waiʻaleʻale" (Kaulilua i ke anu Waiʻaleʻale - ea -), heard that Pele-io-holani, ruling chief of Oahu, wanted to get hold of his bones at his death. Pele-io-holani had been told that Kaha's bones would make lucky fishhooks. Kaha-kauila got together his kahunas, children, followers, his servants and the chiefs who were related to him and said, "When I die do not wail for me until you have hidden my bones. Then go to the middle of Kawainui and dive about in the mud, raise a lamentation for me, and tell the people that Kaha-kauila fell into the stream and was carried down in the current." When Pele-io-holani heard of the old man's death by drowning he was much disappointed and had chiefs and people dive for the body, but it was never found. The bones were taken back to Puʻuhaoa in Hana and concealed there. The bones of Lono-a-Piʻi were sought out by Kiha-Piʻi-lani in order to desecrate them, and the people of Hawaii dug around Niu close to Pihana in Wailuku in an attempt to find them, but they were never discovered. It was for this reason that the bones of chiefs were hidden, in order to avoid such desecration.
Other ways of using the bones and so heaping reproach on the descendants of those thus treated was by making them into arrowheads to shoot rats with. The person who held the arrow for the chief would wait for a relative of the one whose bones had been used for [arrow] points. When he saw a son or relative come within hearing, he would call out, "Say, Hakau, hold on to the whiskers of this rat! Say, Hakau, hold on to the tail of our rat!" And there were other such ways of taunting a man's relatives. The family of a dead chief were often much worried to know whether his bones had been discovered, but when rat-shooting time came on and they heard meles chanted mentioning his name, then they knew that their secret burial place had been discovered. This practice was not confined to the bones of the male chiefs alone. Sometimes a mele chanted while a tapa or loin cloth was being beaten would name a chiefess, and upon examination her bones would be found to have disappeared. Taunts were uttered while out fishing. A skull was sometimes used as a filth pot or a spittoon. It was for this reason that Kamehameha had his bones so secretly hidden by Ulu-maheihei. "If I die, perhaps you will not be able to hide my bones," he said to him, and Ulu-maheihei Hoa-pili replied, "I am the only one who can do so." Ka-meʻe-ia-moku had his bones hidden in a similar way. It was the custom to give such orders before death, and the general belief was that the bones of a bad chief could never be hidden so that they could not be found. Perhaps the word irreligious (ʻaia') is a better one to use than bad (hewa). It was those who had not prayed to or worshiped the gods whose bones could not be hidden.*
* See 39 and 36. The sandalwood of Hawaii was discovered by Captain Kendrick of the American sloop Lady Washington between 1791 and 1794. Between 1810 and 1825 the trade was at its height. Kotzbue writes in 1825 that he has been told that Americans have purchased sandalwood to the amount of 300,000 Spanish dollars. On Molokai a hollow is shown shaped like the hold of a ship and said to have been used in old days as a measuring place for a shipload of sandalwood.