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Ka Moʻolelo o Kalaniʻōpuʻu

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Ruling Chiefs Pg. 76-77

He Moʻolelo kēia ...Ater a fight at Kalepolepo there was a battle between Alapaʻinui amd Kalaniopuʻu with their chiefs and warriors at Paʻieʻie adjoining Puaʻaloa. There after a great battle was fought at Kualoa and Mokualele all the way to Mahinaakaaka, at which Kalaniʻōpuʻu nearly died. Cornered on all side, he slipped on the pahoehoe and two strong warriors siezed him one on either side; but the high cheif Kalaniʻōpuʻu summoned all his strength killing the two great warriors and two more that were almost upon him. When two more lua warriors came upon Kalaniʻōpuʻu and siezed this high chief, he held them off, one with his powerful right hand and another with his left hand and he boasted these words for all to hear and remember:

He moku Kaʻula i hoa me Niʻihau

I Kaulua ia Kawaihoa a Kāne

O Kaulana a ka la i Halalii la

Hala ka la nalo ma Lehua

Hiki ka molehulehu o ke ahiahi

Moe e no Kauai i luna ka la

E ao ana o Lehua i ke kai

Kaʻula is a companion to Niihau

On these islands are the living waters brought forth by Kane.

Kane shines bright over Halaliʻi

The sun passes by and sets at Lehua

The dusk of evening approaches quickly

Kauai sleeps, here the sun sets

Lehua lies shining in the sea

These two men I now hold both have life from Kane.

They are warriors in full strength, they are soon to die.

Early death approaches them both

Glorious in battle is this high chief

Kalaniʻōpuʻus lua fighters were victorious on that day. The chief then realized how powerful his following was in warrior and chiefs and how strong he himself was to break the bones of seasoned warriors with his strong hands.

After studying this moʻolelo and this chant by Kalaniʻōpuʻu very carefully do you know what this type of chant is for and what term we call it in our Lua ? There is much kaona in his words as our kupuna were and still are proficient in poetic thinking. Let us know what you think of the moʻolelo and more importantly what is important to understand about the words that were uttered by our Chiefly warrior on the battle field that day. His words were so stong that they were memorized by those at the battle and passed down to us today.. some things to consider where do you think these place names in the moʻolelo are located today? Did you get any impression of how Kalanʻōpuʻu's character was? Have you ever wondered what would you do if you were in his kamʻaa? And lastly what is important in the words he boasted that day?

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From reading the Mo’Olelo, Ka’ula if I’m not mistaken there’s a legend of Papa & Wakea stating that Ka’ula was the 7th child born(island). Kalaniopu’u stated that Ka’ula is a companion to Niihau, which from my understanding of the Mo’Olelo Ka’ula is next to Niihau and are closer to each other than the other surrounding islands.


Unknown member
May 12, 2021

Aloha kākou, because the two islands (Kauaʻi + Lehua) are in the west and the discussion of the sun setting, we are drawn to think about the approaching pō for these two warriors. I wonder if there is any implied meaning of lehua as the first warrior to fall in battle. I love the word mōlehulehu -- lehu meaning ashes that is such a beautiful way to describe the dim light at sunset. I also wonder if it is used intentionally to mimic the sound of "mole o Lehua".

Unknown member
May 13, 2021
Replying to

'Ōlohe, I just remembered something ʻŌlohe Līkeke taught us (I think) -- that i ka wā kahiko, cremation or reduction to ash was not something we did. That it was considered disrespectful to the deceased person. I wonder if mōlehulehu is also included as an insult. Mahalo for explaining the function of this kaena in battle -- "I ka olelo no ka make." Pōlehlehu, mahalo -- I'll add this one to my vocabulary too!


Unknown member
Mar 13, 2021

A question was asked a couple days ago about Kalaniopuus battle and the site Mahinaakaaka if it was in Puna. There are hints to this question in the pages prior to the story which was on pg 76. look at the place names in the pages before Kalaniopuus battle. They give clues to where they are and where the battle moves to.


Mar 12, 2021

Oh heading off to papa lua at Waikahekahe now. Don't want to be late. You know the pain it will cause me if I enter late!!!


I sense Kalaniopu’u was a fierce warrior. Not jus his words or actions but his connections to his Akua as well.

Unknown member
Mar 11, 2021
Replying to

Ae, he was well skilled and competent in his abilities and trusted in his akua to guide and protect him..Maikai Loa!

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