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Mo`olelo O Na Ali`i

Roy Alameida

October 2005


In the May issue, we read about Ka‘ililauokekoa, ali‘i wahine on Kaua‘i. In this issue, we look at Kalanimanuia or Kala‘imanuia, another ali‘i wahine, who ruled O‘ahu from 1600-1665.

Kalanimanuia was born at Kūkaniloko on O‘ahu. Luaia, her father, was of very high rank and traced his lineage to chiefs on Maui . Her mother was Kūkaniloko, the daughter of Piliwale, a chief of high rank, who had ruled O‘ahu eighty years earlier. Kalanimanuia spent her early childhood living mauka (toward the mountains) of Wahiawā . Later, she moved to Kalauao in Waipahu and remained there until she became ruler of the kingdom.

Kalanimanuia was known to have been a good chiefess. The chiefs and commoners lived in comfort on the island. The lands were productive. No taxes were levied on the people nor was there any known war during her rule. She built many heiau and rebuilt those in disrepair. Peace prevailed over the island of O ‘ahu. As part of her management style, she frequently traveled around the island inspecting her lands. She was especially noted for building loko ‘ia or fishponds; three of which she had built for herself.

Her husband Lupe was also a kind and benevolent chief to the people. Born of high rank as well, Lupe was known for his fishing skills. Although his wife was ruler of the kingdom, he assisted with the administration of the government. Once when he was on a tour of the kingdom, he found out that a thief had broken the law against stealing. When the thief was asked by Lupe what he had stolen, the thief replied, “I stole a pig.” Lupe then had his servants to fetch a pig and cook it. The thief was forced to eat the cooked pig until his stomach was full and he could not take another bite. Then Lupe admonished the thief saying, “Do not steal again. The law before that was written that a thief shall have his flesh stripped from the bones.” Because of the humaneness of his actions, the people trusted Lupe and followed the laws he set forth.

Before she died, Kalanimanuia gave commands to her four children. Kūamanuia, her eldest son, would rule the kingdom of O ‘ahu. She left the care of her war gods, Kūkalani and Kūho‘one‘one to her second son, Ka‘ihikapuamanuia. This was an important responsibility in Hawaiian culture. To Ha‘o, a third son, she gave him the charge of ruling the districts of ‘Ewa and Wai‘anae. And her daughter, Kekela, was given the charge of caring for the lands of Waialua and Ko‘olauloa. Thus, the kingdom was left in good hands when Kalaimanuia died at the age of ninety-one. She died during the sixty-fifth year of her reign.

The length of her reign as ruler of O‘ahu indicate that she was just and compassionate and cared for the people. She exemplified the traits of a benevolent and trustful ali‘i which afforded her full support from the chiefs and commoners alike. Had she not shown the traits of a good ali‘i, she would have been quickly replaced as ruler of the kingdom by her followers.

Ua ‘Ike Anei ‘Oe… (Did you know that…)

  • O‘ahu, like the other major Hawaiian Islands , is divided into six districts.
  • ‘Ewa district, of which Pearl Harbor is a part of, at one time contained over 36 large fishponds.
  • At one time, the ‘Ewa district population was one of the densest on O‘ahu.

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