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Mo`olelo O Na Ali`i

Roy Alameida

April 2006

 


The last issue ended with the mo‘olelo (story) of Kamaluohua taken captive by Kalaunuiohua, ali‘i of Hawai‘i
Island, but later freed. Three generations following Kamaluohua ruler as ali‘i, the mo‘olelo continues with the rule of his son Kaulahea I and his descendants.

During the reign of Kaulahea I the mo‘olelo is silent on anything significant until his sons take control. Kakae and his brother Kaka‘analeo ruled jointly over Maui island after the death of their father Kaulahea I. Their court was in Lāhaina which at that time preserved its ancient name of Lele. According to the mo‘olelo, Lele was famously known for `ulu (breadfruit) trees. Of the two brothers, Kaka‘analeo was known to be thrifty and full of energy.

Kahekili I was the son of Kakae and succeeded his father as ali‘i of Maui. His son, Kawaoka‘ohele then ruled the island. His sister Keleanohoana‘apiapi married Lolale, ali‘i of O‘ahu, which cemented relationships between the ali‘i of both islands. During the reign of Kawaoka‘ohele, the island was prosperous and peaceful. There were no battles between the island kingdoms nor between the districts of Maui island. However, one would assume that the manner in which his sister became the wife of the O‘ahu ali‘i would be cause for battle.

According to the mo‘olelo, Lolale, the O‘ahu ali‘i, had a good-natured temper and his brothers felt that he should take a wife. But, there were no women on the island that caught his attention. So, the brothers believed it was necessary to search on the other islands. Molokai did not produce any potential female to suit the desires of their brother so, they continued with their canoe to Hana on Maui. It was there that they heard about Kaka‘analeo and his sister, Kelea, known as the most beautiful woman on the island and expert body surfer, was nearby checking on the affairs of the district.

Kelea and her friends were body surfing when they encountered the canoe. Although startled by the appearance of strangers, Kelea accepted the invitation to ride the canoe to shore with them. Suddenly a gust of offshore wind pushed the canoe out to the open ocean and away from the island. When the wind subsided, the canoe was close to the shores of O‘ahu. The canoe landed at Waialua and Kelea was taken to Lolale who became enraptured with her beauty. Kelea apparently accepted him as her husband. Since there was no invasion of O‘ahu by her brother, it is assumed that the affair was diplomatically settled to the satisfaction of both sides.

After living with Lolale for several years, Kelea desired to return to Maui. Lolale reluctantly gave his consent. Leaving Waialua and traveling to the ‘Ewa district, Kelea encountered a crowd competing in the surf near the Pearl River. Being an experienced body surfer, Kelea entered the contest and beat all the competitors. Kalamakua, ali‘i of the district was curious of all the commotion and was told that a beautiful woman had won the competition. Recognizing her as the wife of his cousin, Lolale, he courted her to his residence and later took her as his wife where she remained until her death.

After the death of his father, Kawaoka‘ohele, Pi‘ilani assumed control of Maui. He married his cousin Laielohelohe, daughter of Kelea and Lolale. Through his wise and organized leadership, the island of Maui prospered and connections through marriage with the chiefly families on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i island, supported his political strength. He remained visible and frequently visited the districts on the island to enforce the laws and encourage the populace to mālama (to care) the ‘āina (land) and conserve resources for their survival. His perseverance and strict compliance with the laws of his ancestors led to the prosperity and success of his reign.

Ua ‘Ike Anei ‘Oe… (Did you know that…) Pi`ilanihale, the largest luakini heiau on the island of Maui, is near Hana.

  • that marriage among the chiefly families in Hawaiian society was a tool to attain political alliances.
  • that Pi‘ilani was strict in following the system of maintaining close relationships among the chiefly families by supporting brother-sister marriages.
  • Pi‘ilanihale (home of Pi‘ilani) is the largest sacrificial heiau (temple) on Maui island.

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