top of page


Updated: Nov 2, 2022


Desha, S., & Frazier, F. N. (2000). Kamehameha and his warrior kekūhaupiʻo. Kamehameha Schools Press.

Death of Kalani‘ōpu‘u and a List of Progeny

After Kamehameha left his uncle, after a long stay at Kamā‘oa, Kalani‘ōpu‘u moved from that place of the heiau where Kamehameha and Kīwala‘ō had been instructed, and he stayed at Ka‘alu‘alu. After some time he then moved to Kalae, that waterless place of Ka‘ū. Because of the lack of water Kalani‘ōpu‘u organized digging for water at the juncture of the cliff of Mōlīlele. This was under the guidance of a certain kahuna named Naonaoaina, the cousin of Nu‘uanukapahu [Nu‘uanupā‘ahu] a kahuna who had been killed by the bite of a shark at Pololū, North Kohala.33 Kalani‘ōpu‘u trusted in the guidance of this kahuna who had boasted that he would truly get delicious water from the cliff of Mōlīlele, and also at a place called Kā‘iliki‘i.

A float was made in the sea and upon it stood the water diggers who dug in the cliff with stone daggers, with the thought of getting water.

However, after the passage of some time of digging in that cliff, there was not the least splash of water, which caused irritation to Kalani‘ōpu‘u. Because there was no water he became enraged at that kahuna, Naonaoaina, and ordered him to be hung on the scaffolding floating on the sea where he died by the order of King Kalani‘ōpu‘u. That digging for water by King Kalani‘ōpu‘u was called the Hanging Water (Liwai) of Kalani‘ōpu‘u. Perhaps this was the reason that the chiefess Ululani, wife of John T. Baker, was called Liwai. Also, John Ena was called Liwai because of this single act. It was said that these were people connected to that name Ululani and perhaps this was the reason these two were named for that famous action of King Kalani‘ōpu‘u.34 After the failure of this work by Kalani‘ōpu‘u, he desired to go to Kona, therefore he left Kalae and stayed at Kā‘iliki‘i, at Waio‘ahukini. While he was living there he became ill with the ma‘i ‘ōku‘u [squatting sickness], and the knowledge of the kāhuna was unable to save him from that sickness. He died there at a time thought to be in the month of April 1782. There are many parts of the various histories in the numerous stories written by the historians of the conqueror, but the one who writes here of the famous warrior of Ke‘ei selects the places where Kekūhaupi‘o enters into matters pertaining to the life of Kamehameha. The ali‘i Kamehameha was the great favorite of Kekūhaupi‘o and his uncles, who taught him the ancient martial arts of the land. Not only that, but Kekūhaupi‘o was affectionately attached to his foster son, and Kamehameha was extremely important in the life of this famous warrior of that ancient time. We have seen in the recent issues of this story of the famous conqueror of the pampering of their ali‘i, and how the uncles of Kekūhaupi‘o carried Kamehameha on their backs from that place where they left Waio‘ahukini in the district of Ka‘ū. We shall continue our story with the interweaving of some famous deeds by Kamehameha in this story of the famous warrior of “Ke‘ei o lalo lilo.” On the death of Kalani‘ōpu‘u at that place previously described, the chiefs entered into the court of the dead king with dirges of lamentation, and it was said that mourning by some of the chiefs and chiefesses lasted almost six months. The prominent chiefs who entered into this period of mourning were Keawemauhili, the high chief of the Hilo districts; Kānekoa, the district chief of Hāmākua; Ke‘eaumoku Pāpa‘iaheahe, of Keālia, South Kona; the sacred twins of Keawepoepoe, Kamanawa and Kame‘eiamoku; Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s own sons Keōuakū‘ahu‘ula and Keōuape‘e‘ale of Ka‘ū, and Kawelaokalani of Kahalu‘u, North Kona; Pualinui of Pu‘uokapolei, Olowalu, Maui; Kaleipaihala of Kailua, North Kona; and the numerous wives of King Kalani‘ōpu‘u and the lesser chiefs of his court. Keaweaheulu and Ululani, the mother of Keaweokahikona, and Kapi‘olani did not enter into this confusion of mourning because these high chiefs of the land were staying at Kohala with Kamehameha. However, when the death of Kalani‘ōpu‘u was heard of, Kamehameha and his court entered into mourning, although their behavior was not similar to that of those at the court of Kīwala‘ō, the heir to the kingdom bequeathed to him by his father.

It was said that the mourning at Kīwala‘ō’s court for his father lasted almost six months, and after that time some chiefs who did not like Kamehameha met with Kīwala‘ō and demanded that war be made on Kamehameha. In the minds of those chiefs there was jealousy because Kalani‘ōpu‘u had given Kamehameha the war god Kūkā‘ilimoku which had been Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s war god, as well as giving Kamehameha the power to guard all the heiau. This was a very high power much thought of in those times because it was the power which would gain the island. This demand of the chiefs to make war on Kamehameha was recorded in Ka Moolelo Hawaii [The History of Hawaii] by Rev. J.F. Pogue.35 Also, the thought of making war in order to snatch lands was entertained by the chiefs of Hilo, Puna, and Hāmākua. They wanted to seize the two Kona districts for in those days the two Kona districts were thought of as the makaha which furnished a good living for the rulers, and those districts were also desirable because of their pleasant living conditions—they were lands possessed of everything needful for existence. Perhaps because of this grumbling about seizing land, the chiefs of the Kona districts left the court of Kīwala‘ō and returned to their own lands. They were those twins, Kamanawa and Kame‘eiamoku, joined by the father of Ka‘ahumanu, Ke‘eaumoku Pāpa‘iaheahe, and some other chiefs of the Kona districts.

In order, however, to fulfill this thought of war by those chiefs of the east side of the island of Hawai‘i, it was decided in advance to take the embalmed body (ke kino i‘a loa ia) 36 of King Kalani‘ōpu‘u to Haleokeawe at Hōnaunau, but to disembark the body of Kalani‘ōpu‘u at Kailua and return him to Haleokeawe by land. This would be the sign that the Kona districts would pass to King Kīwala‘ō’s favorite chiefs.

Perhaps it would be well for us to lay aside the preparations at the court of PKīwala‘ō to take the body of King Kalani‘ōpu‘u to Haleokeawe at Hōnaunau, and turn to Kamehameha and his famous warrior Kekūhaupi‘o.

On the arrival of Kamehameha at Kohala under the guidance of Kekūhaupi‘o and Keaweaheulu, his first task was the construction of four long hālau to shelter his people and gather them together for instruction in martial arts. These shelters were built at a place called ‘Āinakea, close to Kapa‘au, where the statue of the famous kingdom conqueror of the Pacific now stands. At the same time that these shelters were being built, he encouraged farming and fishing. He soon realized that the way to attract the chiefs and commoners was to furnish their calabashes with vegetable food (‘ai) and their meat dishes with fish (i‘a) and to make the men sturdy and ready for instruction in martial arts. Kamehameha also, with the aid of Kekūhaupi‘o, began to build up the armies who were famous afterwards, the Hunalele and the Huelokū. Kekūhaupi‘o and his uncles assisted in the instruction of these armies of young men of the court of Kamehameha. While the court of Kīwala‘ō was in mourning those on Kamehameha’s side were being prepared. Also, the two years while King Kalani‘ōpu‘u was still alive, after Kamehameha had left his uncle’s court, had been spent in preparation. Therefore we, O reader, are able to understand this important truth. While his cousin was conspiring with those chiefs with bad thoughts, who were from the east side of the island, this young chief of the west was preparing himself. He was taking those actions which would furnish his court with the necessities, and defend against attack by his enemies. This was a truly wise act by this chief of the west, and perhaps we, O reader, shall see the value of these actions by Kamehameha, assisted by his war instructor and some other chiefs of his court.

It was said in the story of the kingdom conqueror that his men were treated as favorites and he fulfilled those words of instruction by his uncle, King Kalani‘ōpu‘u: “Return to your birthplace and take care of the chiefs and the commoners (mālama i ke kanaka nui me ke kanaka iki).” It is true that these good actions by Kamehameha made him beloved of his people, and he formed a close bond with his previously mentioned armies. He used some of his time in entering personally into the tasks which would improve living conditions for his people as well as himself, nor did he teach the martial arts to empty stomachs, but to stomachs filled with vegetable food (‘ai) for which they had all worked and fish (i‘a) which they had all gone to catch. It is well at this place in our story to think of those persons who are strengthening the regeneration of our race, that we may reside in abundance upon this good land in which our ancestors’ skins were injured by the barbed spear.

Not only did Kamehameha direct the people who were performing these tasks, but he entered into the work with them, supported by his war instructor, Kekūhaupi‘o, and he heeded his good advice, which was that these activities would achieve the island in the future (Kū ai i ka moku ma ia hope mai).

In Ka Moolelo Hawaii written by Rev. J.F. Pogue, it was said that the main reason for the desire of the east Hawai‘i chiefs to make war on Kamehameha was because of their desire for Kona. Perhaps this is true; however, the real reason for their inciting to war was their envy of Kamehameha and the foundation of the malice these east side chiefs bore him began at the time of his birth. Their jealousy was aroused when Kamehameha triumphed over Kīwala‘ō at the heiau, when Kīwala‘ō took up the pig and Kamehameha took up the sacrificial corpse, and also when Kalani‘ōpu‘u bequeathed his war god Kūkā‘ilimoku to Kamehameha.

When the chiefs of the west side of the island realized the east side chiefs’ greed for land, they left Kīwala‘ō’s court at Ka‘ū and returned to their own lands. There they prepared to stand behind Kamehameha if the time of disaster should come. However, this opposition by the west side chiefs to Kīwala‘ō did not emerge until the very time it became widely known that Kīwala‘ō opposed and desired to make war on Kamehameha. We shall soon see the awakening of this desire for war on the part of Kīwala‘ō, when Kamehameha would be unable to avoid meeting his kinsman on the battlefield of Moku‘ōhai. Just before the great mourning for King Kalani‘ōpu‘u was ended, Ke‘eaumoku Pāpa‘iaheahe left Kīwala‘ō’s court and went to stay at Honokua in Kapalilua [South Kona]. The chiefs of Hilo, Puna, and Hāmākua were staying at that time at Kīwala‘ō’s court, and the thoughts of war against Kamehameha were instigated by Keawemauhili, the high chief of Hilo. He was the chief who was thought to have uttered these words when Kamehameha was born: “Pinch off the tip of the young mulberry shoot.” It was said that when Kalani‘ōpu‘u was near death, he commanded Keawemauhili to take his bones to Haleokeawe at Hōnaunau, and perhaps this was true, but in the mind of this high chief of Hilo was the idea of making war on the Kona chiefs. However, above all, the undercurrent of his thoughts were upon the young chief Kamehameha. As a seer (kilo aupuni) of the kingdom he understood it would be unsuitable to make war on Kamehameha without some kind of wrongdoing as an excuse for war. He knew that attempting to take the lands of the Kona districts would bring about war with the Kona chiefs, and perhaps Kamehameha would be dragged into this war. We know, O reader, of the fulfillment of this thought of the high chief of Hilo.

Keawemauhili announced that the bones of Kalani‘ōpu‘u would be taken to Haleokeawe at Hōnaunau, and preparations were begun to take the body of the dead king there. However, the remarkable thing about this was the accompaniment on this sea journey by the numerous warriors of this chief of the east, joined by the warriors of the court of Ka‘ū, on a great many canoes which had been ordered for this journey.

The chiefs who entered on this funeral journey on the sea were, first, Keawemauhili, the son of the high chief Kalaninui‘īamamao and Kekaulikeikawēkiuonālanialii (w), and the sons of Kalani‘ōpu‘u, Keōuakū‘ahu‘ula and his brother Keōuape‘e‘ale, and King Kīwala‘ō, and also followed by Keōuakū‘ahu‘ula’s wife who was named Kaiolani (w) and their daughter of very high rank, Wailuanuihoano (w). These [two] Keōua were the own sons of Kalani‘ōpu‘u and Kānekapolei (w). They were followed by Kānekoa of Hāmākua, and Ahia of Puna, and another chief named Keohuhu, and also Nae‘ole, foster father of Kamehameha, and Hewahewanui, from whose sister was born Hewahewa, the kahuna nui of Kamehameha at the time of the restoration of the heiau Pu‘ukohola.38 The wives of Kalani‘ōpu‘u went overland, carried on mānele by young chiefs, with each of the mānele draped in a feather cloak, and with kāhili carried alongside.

The funeral journey at sea was made up of many canoes following the royal canoe which carried the body of the dead king. The entire sea was covered over with the many canoes of the chiefs and also the commoners. Perhaps such a funeral procession at sea had never been seen before. The air was full of the sounds of mourning of chiefs and commoners alike, and resounded from the cliffs of that part of Ka‘ū. When the fleet left Waio‘ahukini, the canoes were ordered in this fashion:

Keawemauhili Insults the Kona Chiefs

August 18, 1921

The large canoe carried the high chief Keawemauhili of Hilo, who was the grand marshal of the funeral. Following his great canoe was the canoe which carried the corpse of King Kalani‘ōpu‘u, and after it was the great canoe carrying King Kīwala‘ō, the sacred high chief to whom Kalani‘ōpu‘u had bequeathed the kingdom of Hawai‘i.

Just after the canoe of the young king was the canoe of his brothers, Keōuakū‘ahu‘ula and Keōuape‘e‘ale. These canoes following the canoe carrying the corpse of Kalani‘ōpu‘u were covered with the feathers of the ‘apapane bird. The canoe carrying Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s body was a peleleu type and at the bow of this canoe stood the sacred kāhili named ‘Ele‘eleualani and Kauaka‘ahonua. These were kāhili set up for high chiefs only from time immemorial.

On the canoe of young King Kīwala‘ō stood the kāhili named Hawai‘iloa, surrounded by the banners of the high chief, known by the names of Kaiwakiloumoku and Kaukalihoano. Kīwala‘ō’s canoe was covered over with great feather cloaks, and on the canoe of his brothers were placed the emblems of the high chiefs who were known as the sacred twins of Kalani‘ōpu‘u.

When the funeral fleet arrived at Kapalilua, Ke‘eaumoku and some chiefs of the Kona districts met it and boarded Keawemauhili’s canoe. They wailed for the dead king. When the wailing ceased, Ke‘eaumoku asked Keawemauhili this question: “Where shall the body of the king be laid?” When Keawemauhili heard this question he sat silent for a time, saying to himself: “Tshah! Having heard the word of the king to take his body to Hōnaunau, this is a mischievous question.” Because Keawemauhili was irritated at this question by Ke‘eaumoku he replied in a harsh voice: “The body of the king will be placed at Kailua.” Because of this reply by Keawemauhili, Ke‘eaumoku immediately understood the thought behind the reply. He was not the only one who understood, but also some other Kona chiefs who had sailed with him to see this funeral journey. They realized that the chiefs of the east side of Hawai‘i, by this journey were seeking a reason to initiate war between the chiefs of Hawai‘i’s west side and those of the east side. The idea behind the words that the body of the king would be placed at Kailua and then returned to Haleokeawe at Hōnaunau was that the lands between Kailua and Hōnaunau would go to the new favorites of the new king.

Because of Ke‘eaumoku’s observation and knowledge, he understood that this action sought a fault as a reason for the East Hawai‘i chiefs to make war, and he immediately thought of Kamehameha. Ke‘eaumoku returned ashore and immediately sent his swift messenger to order the Kohala chiefs to come quickly prepared for war and to see the corpse of King Kalani‘ōpu‘u. This news was also communicated to the district chiefs of Kona, commanding them to prepare for this land-snatching deed by East Hawai‘i’s plundering chiefs.

When the funeral canoes neared Kailua a very strong storm broke at sea, with mountainous waves, hard gusts of wind, and pelting rain so that the canoes were unable to go on and turned back to land at Hōnaunau. This great storm became a subject for conversation amongst some chiefs, and commoners also, who thought that it was because the wish of the dead king had not been carried out and that the gods opposed this action by Keawemauhili and his companions. They truly did land at Hōnaunau, and the corpse of Kalani‘ōpu‘u was laid before the Haleokeawe, and when this was done quiet descended upon the fragrant land in the calm of ‘Ehu.

This caused great astonishment in some people. Discussion broke out amongst the chiefs, who saw the work of the gods in this. Because of the attempt not to carry out the wish of the dead king this great storm, unprecedented in the entire Kona districts, had occurred.

At this time the body of the king was placed in a well-plaited coconut leaf shelter (hālau niu, a i nanala maika‘i loa ia) where it could be viewed and it was placed there so that chiefs and commoners could mourn for their lord who had gone on the road to Kāne’s invisible beyond. While the chiefs of Kona and the commoners were viewing the body, the voice of Keawemauhili, the marshal, was heard making an announcement which disturbed some Kona chiefs.

‘Auhea ‘oukou e nā ali‘i me nā maka‘āinana o ka haku ali‘i o kākou: The last command of our lord was to return his body to Kona and that Kanuha would care for it. This perhaps is the night of Akua, and perhaps the day in Kona is Akua.” When the Kona chiefs who had gathered to see the dead king heard this, it caused anger in their minds because it appeared as though their land was being called a land of ghosts [akua a pejorative term]. They applied this word to the taunting chant by Kamapua‘a to Pele, which is told in the famous story about the woman of the pit, which caused a battle between Kamapua‘a and the supernatural woman of Kīlauea. Here is that mischievous chant by Kamapua‘a, reciprocating the insult by Pele to him:39

Mākole mākole ‘akahi, Red-eyed, red-eyed, as no one else,

Hele i kai o Pīheka, Go to the lowland of Pīheka,

He aha ka ‘ai e ‘ai ai? What does she eat?

He lihilihi pau i ke akua, That which has been left by the ghost,

He akua lā, he akua, A ghost, a ghost,

He akua, nā ali‘i o Kona. The chiefs of Kona are ghosts.

These oblique words by Keawemauhili caused great offense to the Kona chiefs, and they guessed that Keawemauhili sought to irritate them and find fault in order to justify making war.

However, none of the Kona chiefs showed their annoyance at these words by Keawemauhili, but they kept it within themselves and discussed amongst themselves these last words of the high chief of Hilo. This was the seed scattered for the bitterness to come. At this time when these words were causing pain to the Kona chiefs, Kamehameha had arrived at Ka‘ūpūlehu in Kekaha in North Kona, having been fetched by Kekūhaupi‘o. After he had assisted Kamehameha in his preparations he had left Kamehameha for almost six months and gone to stay with some of his uncles at La‘aloa, adjoining Kaumalumalu.

On hearing the news that the body of Kalani‘ōpu‘u was being taken to Kona, Kekūhaupi‘o, by his status as kahuna and kuhikuhipu‘uone, had a premonition of the coming fight between the two chiefs. He hastened to Kohala to fetch his foster son, to go with him to the place where the body of the dead king was being taken. Kekūhaupi‘o found Kamehameha enjoying himself at games of lele kawa and also dallying with a woman. He was accompanied in these activities by his younger brother, Kaleimamahū. In accordance with his independence as a chief, and also as a chief over Ke‘ei, as well as his status as a kahuna well seasoned in this profession, he spoke directly and without reservations to his chiefly foster son:

I have seen you, O chief, given over to pleasure with a woman. This is of no value—the warrior has only one work of value, to rule the island, then you can have to do with women, because you will have the tree of Mākālei40 which will attract the fish. The care and worship of the god is that which will gain you the island. Therefore, my heavenly one, I have come to fetch you to return to Kona and join with your elders who are residing at Kona. Stand, my lord, and take with you the little man and the big man for the meeting which will gain the island. Your side has been prepared in advance.

Kīwala‘ō Humiliates Kamehameha During ‘Awa Ceremony

When Kamehameha heard these harsh words from his chiefly guardian and instructor, his feelings were not hurt. He assented agreeably and, quickly preparing himself and his relatives, he boarded the canoes which had been readied, with a command to his warriors to follow after their leader. Kamehameha sailed with Kekūhaupi‘o and stayed at Mapulehu [Ka‘ūpūlehu], awaiting the appropriate time to go and see the body of his royal uncle.

Because of the words uttered by Keawemauhili, the feelings of the Kona chiefs had been hurt. That, together with the words Keawemauhili had spoken to Ke‘eaumoku on board the canoe about returning the body of the king to Kailua, made it quite clear that the east side chiefs had the plunder of the land in mind. With those hurt feelings the chiefs of the west side of the island only awaited an appropriate reason to desert Kīwala‘ō and join themselves behind the nī‘aupi‘o chief Kamehameha. Perhaps, O reader, we shall soon see the arrival of this time and the fault from which arose the war between the two kinsmen, and the fulfillment of the words of the ancestors: “The navel cord between the kinsmen is cut.” On the evening of a certain day after the funeral canoes had landed at Hōnaunau, the body of King Kalani‘ōpu‘u was finally taken into the Haleokeawe. Kamehameha and Kekūhaupi‘o arrived that evening on which the corpse of Kalani‘ōpu‘u was taken within the sacred walls of Haleokeawe.

When the king’s body had been placed in the area prepared for it, a ceremonial offering of ‘awa was made for Kīwala‘ō and also to ceremonially cleanse the kapu corpse. We must understand at this place that this task was to be performed by Kamehameha because he was the one to whom the war god had been bequeathed, as well as the care of all the heiau. Kamehameha sat down and he himself chewed and strained the ‘awa for himself and his kinsman Kīwala‘ō. These are the things which were combined with what Kamehameha chewed. When the pieces of chewed ‘awa became soft, there stood ready two kinds of water: a container of spring water and water combined with turmeric (ōlena). Placed in these containers were mahiki grass and nāwāhineikapumeka‘a grass.

The liquid strained into their ‘awa cups was the water of the niu lelo coconut and the juice of the Pi‘ihonua sugar cane which had been squeezed. The first liquid was strained into the cup of Kīwala‘ō, the second, with the Pi‘ihonua sugar cane juice was put in Kamehameha’s cup. The third cup was the one offered to the god. The liquid mixed in this cup of ‘awa was the water of the niu hiwa, or black coconut, that had been brought from Wailua, Kaua‘i, which had become the water for Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s war god. Kamehameha poured the three cups. When they were ready he took hold of the third cup which was to be offered to the god, and he offered this prayer to the god:

Eia ka ‘awa e ke akua, Here is the ‘awa O god,

He ‘awa lani wale nō, Choicest ‘awa only,

He ‘ai na ke kamaiki, Food for the child [the offerer],

Inu aku i ka ‘awa laulani, Drink of the prized leafed ‘awa,

I ka ‘awa a Kāne i kanu i Kahiki, Of the ‘awa of Kāne, planted in Kahiki,

A ulu, a lau, a o‘o nō i Kahiki, Which grew, leafed and matured in Kahiki,

A kā ‘ia a‘ela, a mama ‘ia nō i ka waha, From him who chewed in his mouth,

Kū i ke kāhe‘e i ka ‘apu. [It] stands ready to be poured.

‘O Hoakaailanika‘āinaola, O heavenly being whose shadows fall upon the land of the living,

Iā kini akua, To the myriad gods,

Iā ‘oe ho‘i e Kū, ua ola ho‘i, To you, O Kū, you who are life,

Eia ke kaikū, ke kaiala, ke kaiola, Here is the still sea, the rising sea, the living sea,

Ke kai pupule, ke kai, hehena, ke kai ‘ūlala, The crazy sea, the insane sea, the unbalanced sea,

Kai ‘aumakua, kai nu‘u, kai ea Ancestral sea, billowy sea, rising sea,

Kai po‘i, kai ‘īnana, ke kai pili‘aikū ē, Crashing sea, wrathful sea, overwhelming sea

Ua puni, Which surrounds us,

Ua puni ho‘i nā moku i ke kai, The islands are surrounded by the sea,

‘O hu‘ahu‘akai wale, Everywhere is the foam of the sea,

o Napenape ka wai the water ripples;

‘O ka wai ‘eli a ke koena. This is the water [to mix with the‘awa] and what remains of it.

‘O ke au miki, a ‘o ke au kā, O receding current, O rising current,

Au kā iho, a au kā aku, Smiting within, smiting without,

Au kā i uka, a au kā i kai, O current that runs ashore, that runs back to the sea,

I ka ‘ale ‘ī, a i ka ‘ale moe, O rising billow, flattening billow,

I ka ‘ale hōkai ho‘i ē, O billow that mingles and rises again,

I Kahiki ē, At Kahiki,

When Kamehameha completed the chant which has been shown, he took hold of an ‘awa cup and gave it to his kinsman, Kīwala‘ō, believing that he would drink it. Kīwala‘ō took hold of the ‘awa cup and gave it to his favorite friend, whose name was Kuikuipua, a grandson of Kalakauaehu [son of] Kamalālāwalu of the Bays of Pi‘ilani [Maui], one of the rulers of Maui in times past. When Kekūhaupi‘o saw Kīwala‘ō giving away that cup of the ‘awa which

Kamehameha himself had masticated, at the very moment that Maui chief lifted the cup to drink, Kekūhaupi‘o dashed the cup from his hand so that the ‘awa scattered and not a drop entered the mouth of that favorite of Kīwala‘ō. At that same moment Kekūhaupi‘o, that warrior of Ke‘ei, spoke these fearless words to the ruler, Kīwala‘ō:

You have done wrong by this action—you two are the chiefs who have the land and the god, as you heard very well the word of your king who lies here. You alone are the lord, over your kaikaina [younger cousin] who is performing this priestly work of the saving of life from sorcery.43 Your kaikaina is your subject as kahuna nui. The food given you, O chief, is for you, and not for anyone else. You have done great wrong in debasing your younger brother.

Without delay after these fearless words Kekūhaupi‘o exhorted his chiefly foster son: “Bestir yourself, stand up firmly and let us leave this place where you have been insulted, my heavenly one.” Kamehameha listened to these words and they left and boarded the canoe which awaited them. Kekūhaupi‘o, that brave man, had heard some chiefs of Kīwala‘ō’s court saying: “This is an act of rebellion by this warrior of Kamehameha.” With a fearless heart he turned toward those chiefs, always ready to defend the life of his foster son, then began his retreat, prepared, however, to fight if any of those chiefs should dare to harm the life of his foster son. He placed fear upon those chiefs who wished to fight. Not one of them attempted to bar the way of this famous warrior of Ke‘ei, and not one of them thought of attempting to bar the high nī‘aupi‘o chief Kamehameha from boarding his canoe. When they boarded the great canoe Kekūhaupi‘o ordered the stalwart paddlers to dip their paddles strongly as it was not known whether they would be followed.

They had a head start and the canoe of Pai‘ea Kamehameha had such a forward thrust that the strongest paddlers of Kīwala‘ō’s men were unable to follow after his incomparably fast canoe. Furthermore, those people within the house had been silenced as though seized by paralysis, by Kekūhaupi‘o’s forceful words.

After the departure of Kamehameha and Kekūhaupi‘o a great din of voices began amongst the chiefs who remained, some terming Kekūhaupi‘o’s actions and words to be haughty. At this same time, Keawemauhili called out to Kīwala‘ō these important words: “Ea, e Kalani ē, hewa lā [Heavenly one, a fault]!”

33 In versions told by Kamakau (1961:106) and Fornander (1969:200–01), Nu‘uanupā‘ahu died at Pololū of wounds he received while fending off a shark as he surfed near Hala‘ula, Kohala.

34 The connection implied between the name Liwai and Ululani is not clear.

35 See the referenced account in Pogue (1978:77–79).

36 Two references to embalming (i‘a loa) state that the body was cut open, the inner parts removed and the cavity filled with salt (Malo 1951:97; Kamakau 1964:33–34).

38 The name of this heiau is commonly written as Pu‘ukoholā because the name is believed to mean “hill of the whale (koholā).” In the December 14, 1922, issue, Desha says the name is derived from the desire (pu‘u) for death to be secured within the lagoon (kai kohola) that lies off-shore of the heiau. To honor Desha’s explanation, Pu‘ukohola is used throughout the text.

39 The context of this chant can be seen within a longer version of this chant published by Fornander (1916–1920:[5]339).

40 Mākālei is the legendary supernatural fish-attracting tree of Kawainui Pond, O‘ahu (Sterling and Summers 1978:230–31). It is also the name of the supernatural tree of Moloka‘i whose roots were placed by fishpond gates to attract fish (Pukui and Elbert 1986:226).

42 In the version of this chant published by Poepoe (1905–06: Jan. 15, 1906), this line appears as

“A hiki a he nei make.”

43 Kekūhaupi‘o is here reminding Kīwala‘ō that as kahuna kuni ola Kamehameha had the power to protect him from black magic.

28 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page