Kame’eiamoku and Kamanawa escort the young Kiwala’o to see King Kahekili- Brook Kapukuniahi Parker
Kapu twin brothers Kame’eiamoku and Kamanawa escort the young Kiwala’o to see King Kahekili at his compound in Wailuku, Maui to ask for clemency. (Ruling Chiefs, P. 88)
Kalaniopu’u of Hawai’i Island was constantly engaged in warfare with Kahekili of Maui. In one infamous campaign he sails for Maui with his numerous hosts, including a particular specialized elite unit called the Alapa. They were the best of the best, 800 seasoned warriors, and all experts in the arts of war. They moved ahead of the main body of troops with a faster marching cadence and soon outdistanced the rest of the armies. Filled with the expectation of a glorious victory they chanted; “Let us move on and drink the sweet waters of Wailuku.”
Kahekili has anticipated this invasion and has allied himself with his brother in law Kahahana of O’ahu. The combined armies lie in an ingenious ambush unbeknown to the approaching Alapa. Once the trap is sprung the Maui and O’ahu forces fall upon the invaders overwhelming and annihilating them. The dead lay in heaps like fish enclosed in a net. Only two men are able to escape and return to report the horrible news to Kalaniopu’u. He gathers his remaining forces that evening at a war council and decides to push forward with the battle the very next day. The battle is long and after many hours the invaders are overwhelmed, pushed back and hastily retreat back to their canoes. This battle must have taken a heavy toll on the defenders because they did not pursue the invaders.
Stinging from this devastating turn of events, Kalaniopu’u decides to make an effort to make peace with Kahekili. His wife Kalola; sister to Kahekili and their young son Kiwala’o are at the shoreline encampment. He petitions his wife to sue for peace but she refuses fearing for her life. She suggests they send their high born son Kiwala’o, Kahekili’s young nephew accompanied by Kahekili’s half brothers the kapu twin chiefs Kame’eiamoku and Kamanawa. Hopefully she explains that once her brother sees his beloved nephew, he will have compassion and favorable allowances would be granted. Luckily this very conclusion came about. As news reached Kahekili’s compound in Wailuku, the reluctant chiefs and fighting men of Maui yielded their ill feelings to protocol and prostrated themselves before this young Ali’i from Hawai’i. Upon entering Kahekili’s house, the uncle turned face up on his mat as a sign of approval and good intentions. Kiwala’o walked directly to his uncle and sat upon his chest and they kissed each other and wailed. The royal twins crawled up to their brother and kissed his hands out of respect for his high rank. Kahekili grants peace, meets with Kalaniopu’u and allows the Hawaii forces to return home.
Artist comments: Although the account is not specific on Kiwala’os age I portrayed him at around 9 or 10 years old. He is accompanied by his Uncles Kame’eiamoku who bears the spittoon and Kamanawa, holding the Kahili. The Maui forces hated the twins and wanted to take their lives but protocol is followed due to the high rank of the boy. Kiwala’o will grow to manhood and eventually be chosen to rule when Kalaniopu’u dies. However his reign is cut short due to his untimely death at the very first battle at Mokuohai. The kapu twins, on request of their brother Kahekili will become kahu (guardians) to another young nephew Kamehameha and serve out the remainder of their lives assisting him in his consolidation of the entire Hawaiian Islands.