31 Jan '20
ARCHIVE SERIES #0003: MOKU-O-KĀKUHIHEWA
Posted by admin
The value of Chief Kākuhihewaʻs importance and prominence in Hawaiian history should not be taken lightly. Considered one of Oʻahuʻs greatest chiefs, Kākuhihewa was known as a bold chieftain—a part of poʻe lō aliʻi, born of royal blood—and although some say he held hawkish, warlike sensibilities, he was legendarily known for instituting nearly three decades of peace, helping prevent bouts of war during his reign.
While they were not the highest in the Aliʻi caste system, the lō aliʻi were considered prestigious because of their untainted royal lineage, as well as their proficiency in combat. A 1955 article in the Honolulu Advertiser mentions how the lō aliʻi "made up the bulk of warriorhood," and were the "main support and arms of the sanctified chieftains." In Kākuhihewaʻs case, in addition to the prophecy of his birth, the exalted King made history by ruling over a population who were wholly content due the prevailing era of cultural well-being, peace, and prosperity. During his phenomenal reign, there was an idiom that said "He lani i luna , hōnua i lalo" which translates to "The Heavens Above, the Earth below," or in the context of the beloved aliʻi, "It was fertile in the uplands, fertile in the lowlands." The idiom is usually said of a "person who owns his own property," or "of one who is sure of his security."
The relevance of Kākuhihewaʻs reign was so awe-inspiring that at one point, the island of Oʻahu was named after him: Moku O Kākuhihewa, or Oʻahu of Kākuhihewa. Kākuhihewa also had a hand in establishing the neighborhood of Moanalua as the epicenter of Hawaiian cultural arts, including hula and oli (chants), which, depending on who you ask, still holds the same significance to this day.
Legend tells that during Kākuhihewaʻs deliverance to the world at the Kūkaniloko birthing stones, forty-eight high-ranking aliʻi were present at his piko-cutting ceremony, while "two sacred drums named Opuku and Hawea" thumped and echoed across the island to announce this significant celebration, which demonstrated the importance of his legendary status even before he began his storied tenure.
Kākuhihewa even had a special connection with the spiritual plane, with one particularly interesting story that explains how the historical coconut grove called Helumoa got its name. As legend tells it, the spiritual rooster Kaʻauhelumoa swooped down into Waikiki from its home base in Palolo and feverishly scratched at the grounds briefly, then just as quickly departing. Upon witnessing this, Kākuhihewa accepted this as a premonition of sorts, deciding to sow a cluster of niu (coconut trees) and bestowing the name of Helumoa ("chicken scratch") upon the land. Eventually, the site would expand to upwards of 10,000 coconut trees and be given the name Kingʻs Grove.
To bring more attention to Kākuhihewaʻs mythos, we released our special Ebbets Field pack back in 2016, which included a flannel jersey and cap, and for some lucky customers, a limited edition letterman jacket. This special release puts its focus squarely on the revered ruler; the distinguished aliʻi who had a big role in facilitating the unification of Oʻahu.