Masked Priests of Ku and Makahiki Season
The Masked Priests of Ku (Hawaiian God of War)
During the celebratory months of Makahiki Season (November-February), priests of Ku (a mysterious group) hid behind masks while the God Lono reigned.
Na Huihui o Makali’i is a cluster of stars the English-speaking world calls the Pleaides or the Seven Sisters. The Makali’i is much revered in the Hawaiian tradition as the place from which, according to legend, the first Hawaiian people came to Earth and the star-based calendar of the ancestral Hawaiians has long placed special significance on their ties to the Makali’i. It also has renewed significance for this gathering of Native Hawaiians here and on every island who are seeking to observe their spiritual and cultural traditions.
Late November is the beginning of the Ho’o-ilo (winter or rainy season) season in the star-based Hawaiian calendar. Winter officially begins when the Makali’i cluster begins to rise at sunset and set at dawn and is visible most of the night. Ho’o-ilo lasts for about four months until the beginning of Kau (summer) when the Makali’i begins to rise in the east at sunrise and is not visible at night.
To the Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) the stars’ appearance in the night sky also signifies the beginning of the Makahiki, the most important holiday of the year. It is the traditional Hawaiian celebration of the harvest and time of personal rest and spiritual and cultural renewal.
Makahiki is a form of the “first fruits” festivals common to many cultures throughout the world. It is similar in timing and purpose to Thanksgiving, Octoberfest and other harvest celebrations. Something similar was observed throughout Polynesia, but in pre-contact Hawaii the festival reached its greatest elaboration. As the year’s harvest was gathered, tribute in the form of goods and produce were given to the chiefs from November through December.
The Makahiki was a designated period of time following the harvesting season. During the special holiday the success of the harvest was commemorated with prayers of praise made to the Creator, various deities especially Lono ancestral guardians, and caretakers of the elements.
Lono, the god of agriculture and fertility, was honored to ensure peace and productivity. Lono is seen, associated with or visualized as clustering or dark clouds, as thunder, the partial rainbow, whirlwinds, and even waterspouts - all aspects of Hawaii’s winter season. Lono is the rain that falls from the Kona direction. He reestablishes the vitality of the land and nourishes the gardens of the people.
When the Makahiki season closed, Lono went back to the ancestral lands of Kahiki (Tahiti) and Ku returned to be in charge for the growing season. In a ceremony marking the closure of the Makahiki, a canoe with offerings to Lono was set adrift to help return Lono to the ancestral lands and be generous upon his return next year.
Kamehameha was the high priest of Ku while Kamanawa and Kame’eiamoku (royal twin brothers) were the high priests of Lono once the Kingdom of Hawai’i was established. Accordingly, while Kamehameha ruled during the growing season, Kamanawa and Kame’eiamoku ruled the Hawaiian Kingdom during Makahiki Season.
Keku’iapoiwa II- Brook Kapukuniahi Parker
Kekuʻiapoiwa II- Brook Kapukuniahi Parker
Kekuʻiapoiwa II, was a Hawaiian High Chiefess and the mother of The Great King Kamehameha I.
She was named after her aunt Kekuʻiapoiwa Nui (also known as Kekuʻiapoiwa I), the wife of King Kekaulike of Maui. Her father was High Chief Haʻae, the son of the very famous High Chiefess Kalanikauleleiaiwi and High Chief Kauaua-nui-a-Mahi of the Famous Mahi family of the Kohala district of Hawaiʻi island, and brother of Alapainui (Future King of Hawai’i). Her mother was Princess Kekelakekeokalani-a-Keawe (Kekelaokalani I), daughter of the same Kalanikauleleiaiwi and Keaweikekahiali`iokamoku, Ali`i Aimoku of Hawai`i (King and Queen of Hawai’i).
Her mother had been sought after by many who wished to marry into the royal Keawe line. She was the niece of Alapainui (Future King of Hawai’i) a kauaua through her father. She married the High Chief Keōua Kalanikupuapaikalaninui to whom she had been betrothed since childhood.
Many stories are told about the birth of Kamehameha. Kamehameha is known a Po’olua chief, or one with two fathers (like the royal twins, Kamanawa and Kame’eiamoku). One of those fathers being Keōua, the other Kahekilinuiahumanu (Future King of Maui). Kekuʻiapoiwa II visted her Royal aunt Queen Kekuʻiapoiwa I of Maui. Her aunt was married to Kaulahea, the King of Maui. While there visiting her aunt, Kekuiapoiwa II’s first cousin Kahekilinuiahumanu (Future King of Maui) became romantically involved with her. She became pregnant and decided to return to her husband Keōua Kalanikupuapaikalaninui on the island of Hawai’i.
At this time in Hawaiian history, her grandfather, King Keaweikekahi-ali`iokamoku of Hawai’i had passed away. Keku’iapoiwa’s father and uncles went to war to seize control of Hawai’i. In the process, her father and other uncles were killed in battle. Her uncle Alapainui emerged the victor, and was recognized as King of Hawai’i. Even though he had killed her husbands father in battle, he adopted her husband Keōua Kalanikupuapaikalaninui and his half brother, Kalani’opu’u (Future King of Hawai’i).
The rumor of her pregnancy preceded her return to Hawai’i. Alapainui (King of Hawai’i) secretly made plans to have the newborn infant killed. A bitter rivalry had developed between the Hawa’ai and Maui chiefs and Alapa’i did not want to risk the offspring of a rival family being born in his court. One says that when Kekuʻiapoiwa was pregnant with Kamehameha, she had a craving for the eyeball of a chief. She was given the eyeball of a man-eating shark and the priests prophesied that this meant the child would be a rebel and a killer of chiefs.
In the month of Ikuwa (probably winter) Kekuʻiapoiwa’s time came on a stormy night in the Kohala district, when a strange star with a tail of white fire appeared in the western sky. This could have been Halley’s Comet which appeared near the end of 1758, although my personal family history dates Kamehameha’s birthdate as June 11, 1736. According to one legend, the baby was passed through a hole in the side of Kekuiapoiwa’s thatched hut to a local Kohala chief named Naeʻole, who carried the child to safety at Awini on the island’s north coast. Another legend holds that Kamehameha was born on a canoe in the channel between island of Maui and Hawaii (symbolizing Kamehameha’s future union of the two islands). By the time the infant in Naeʻole’s care was five, Alapainui (King of Hawai’i) had accepted him back to the boy into his household.
Thus the child, a son, was born and reared in loneliness. His Hawai’i Island ancestors say the name Kamehameha was given because of his isolated up bringing. His Maui ancestors say that he was named in honor of his father Kahekili’s older brother, Kamehameha nui ai luau.
A few years later, Keōua died in Hilo, and the family moved with Alapainui (King of Hawaii) to an area near Kawaihae, where she married Sacred High Chief of the Kona district Kamanawa (twin po’olua brother to Kame’eiamoku, as seen on the Hawaiian Royal Seal). Kamanawa and Kame’eiamoku had been made kapu (sacred) by their older brother Kahekili (King of Maui and father of Kamehameha) and instructed to serve as Kamehameha’s kahu (guardians) and protect, advise, guide and teach him.
Keku’iapoiwa II had one daughter, Piʻipiʻi Kalani-kahiwauliakama, with Kamanawa. Kamanawa would later become an important military ally of Kamehameha, who was both step son and cousin through several relationships. Kamanawa, along with four other family members, formed the Aha ‘Ula (the Sacred Red Chord) or symbolically the Royal Chiefly Council tied together by blood. Together this sacred council of five led and advised Kamehameha through his successful conquest of the Hawaiian Islands…
Mahalo to cousin Brook for painting this masterpiece. This is the first rendering of Keku’iapoiwa II to date. Brook told me he saw her in a dream and the next day let the paintbrush move on the canvas. I can see the KU (warrior) in tutu’s eyes.
Mai iloko mai. E pili mau na pomaika’i ia ’oe Keku’iapoiwa. E hana me ka ha’ aha’ a. Aloha wau ia ‘oe. Makemake ‘oe.
Me ka ha’ aha’ a,
Ke Akua pu a hui hou…
Kame’eiamoku and Kamanawa By Brooke K. Parker
Kame’eiamoku and Kamanawa
By Brooke K. Parker
The twins are the most recognizable and best known of all of King Kamehameha’s royal councilors. They are seen as heraldic supporters on the Royal Coats of Arms of the Hawaiian Monarchy from King Kamehameha III through the reign of Queen Lili’u’okalani. Kame’eiamoku holds the spear and Kamanawa holds the kahili.
The twins were born on the island of Hawai’i and were the sons of Kanoena, their high born Chiefess mother, and “Po’olua” (two heads’ sons of Keawepoepoe (High Chief of Hawai’i) and Mo’i Kekaulike (King of Maui). (Polygamous marriages in ancient Hawaii led to instances where paternity was in question, so genealogical claims for both paternal lines were recognized and accepted.) They inherited the “Kapu Wela” (burning kapu) from their Maui lineage and the “Kapu Lama Kukui” (blazing torches at noon kapu) from their Hawai’i lineages.
Of all the councilors, they are the most closely related to Kamehameha. The twins were also half brothers to Mo’i Kahekilii, Kalola, Kamehamehanuiailuau, Kauhiaimokuakama, Kekumanoha, Ke’eaumokuapaiahiahi, Keawema’uhili and Namahana. The twins other relatives were listed among the who’s who of Hawaiian aristocracy. When Kame’eiamoku and Kamanawa were living on Maui, their older brother Mo’i Kahahekili (King of Maui), made them “Kapu” (“sacred”) and sent them to Hawaii to stay by Kamehameha’s side and be his “Kahu” (gardians). Kahekili is recognized as one po’olua father to Kamehameha. His other po’olua father was Keoua (half brother of Kalaniopu’u (King of Hawai’i) with the same mother) of Hawaii. The twins were instructed by Kahekili to protect, advise, guide and teach Kamehameha. They remained faithful to their young charge during the reign of Mo’i Alapa’i (King of Hawai’i), and after his death, Mo’i Kalaniopu’u’s (King of Hawai’i) that followed. They continued serving well into Kamehameha’s own rise to power. They conquered the island of Hawai’i following the death of Mo’i Kalanipou’u and preceded to take Maui (and with it Lana’i and Moloka’i) and Oahu. Kaua’i conceded and victory was had. The kingdom of Hawai’i was created in 1810. They were by his side until their own deaths preceded the culmination of his conquests.
Ke’eaumokupapa’iahiahi By Brooke K. Parker
Keʻeaumoku Pāpaʻiahiahi- Brooke K. Parker
Keʻeaumoku Pāpaʻiahiahi (1736–1804) was a Hawaiian high chief and the father of Kaʻahumanu. His father was Hawaiʻi island chief Keawepoepoe and his mother was Kūmaʻaikū. Keʻeaumoku was a warlike and ambitious chief of the Kona district of Hawaiʻi island. He was among the first of five Kona chiefs to back Kamehameha I against his cousin Kiwalaʻo. In 1782, at the Battle of Mokuʻōhai near Keʻei, Kona, Keʻeaumoku led Kamehameha’s warriors to victory, and Kīwalaʻō was killed. Kīwalaʻō was wearing an ʻahu ʻula (red feather cloak), which then became the property of Kamehameha (this feathered cloak is now in the collection of the Bishop Museum). One account states that the injured Keʻeaumoku Pāpaʻiaheahe crawled to Kīwalaʻō, who also had been injured, and then Keʻeaumoku Pāpaʻiaheahe slit the neck of Kīwalaʻō with a leiomano (shark-tooth weapon). While preparing for an invasion of Kauaʻi island against King Kaumualiʻi, an epidemic called maʻi ʻōkuʻu (likely cholera) infected King Kamehameha and many of his troops, killing thousands. Many of Kamehameha’s warriors died from the disease. Among them was Keʻeaumoku on March 21, 1804.
Keʻeaumoku was half brother to Kame’eiamoku and Kamanawa, sharing a father in Keawepoepoe (High Chief of Hawai’i).
The Pardon of Queen Lili‘uokalani
The pardon of Lili‘uokalani; entire release and restoration of any civil rights by Sanford B. Dole, President of the Republic of the Hawaiian Islands. October 23, 1896.
On January 17, 1893 the “Citizens Committee of Public Safety” backed by United States marines from the U.S.S. Boston, carried out a Coup d’État against the Sovereign Queen Lili‘uokalani. They proclaimed a Provisional Government led by an oligarchy of white sugar growers, businessmen and descendants of missionaries. In accordance with their plans, they immediately sent representatives with a treaty of annexation to the United States. This annexation was thwarted however, by an investigation of the situation ordered by President Cleveland. This group had not planned on running a country and their hold on power was tenuous at best. While Queen Lili‘uokalani had asked her people to remain calm, so as not to give any reason to stop what she was sure would be American restitution of her throne, there was immediate and prolonged resistance.
Besides the now well-documented anti-annexation petition drive, there were also contestations of the Provisional Government’s power in the press, the churches and other venues. Several Hawaiian-language newspapers were the first to question the legitimacy of the new government. One church congregation threw out their pastor who was pro-annexation, and underground groups formed that stealthily armed themselves in anticipation of the need to militarily restore the Queen. The P.G. responded to these challenges through a declaration of martial law, the questioning and intimidation of newspaper editors, the hiring of mercenaries from outside of Hawai‘i, and arrests of those who were thought to be leading the push for the Queen’s restoration. As early as December 1893 the P.G., at a meeting of its officers, was speaking of the “necessity of the ex-queen being made a prisoner of state.”*
One of the many arrested was Aloha ‘Āina leader, Joseph K. Nāwahī. On Dec. 9, 1894 an arrest and search warrant was executed on his estate. The republic accused him of hiding guns and “wickedly devising and intending to levy war against the Republic of Hawai‘i”**. Held in jail without bail for two months, Nāwahī contracted tuberculosis and later died.
A January 1895 attempt to restore the queen, led by Robert Wilcox, would result in the arrest of dozens of Royalist leaders, supporters, and also the Queen herself. On January 16, Queen Lili‘uokalani was placed under arrest by the Republic of Hawai‘i for misprision of treason. She and this group of her closest supporters and friends faced the ultimate penalty of death. The Queen would later write in her book Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen: “The only charge against me really was that of being a queen; and my case was judged by these, my adversaries, before I came to court.” At trial, the Queen was found guilty and sentenced to the maximum penalty of five years of hard labor and a fine of $5,000. Queen Lili‘uokalani was imprisoned for eight months in a single room on the second floor of ‘Iolani Palace. She spent the next five months under house arrest at Washington Place until she was pardoned on October 23, 1896. The Republic had managed to keep the Queen from actively seeking recognition of her right to rule, but upon her release, she would travel to Washington D.C. where she and other Po‘e Aloha ‘Āina (patriots) would successfully lobby against passage of the second treaty of annexation… My great grandmother’s grandmother accompanied her cousin, Lili’uokalani, over the entire course of her imprisonment. They sowed a beautiful quilt that is currently on display in the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. They feared for their life and the future of their kingdom. Sadly their kingdom would be lost. A lot of secret messages are hidden within that quilt. Will post it sometime in the future. E pili mau na pomaika`i ia `oe
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.
The Navigator - Kahuna Kilo Hoku
A canoe navigator of ancient Hawai’i aboard a sailing canoe at sunset, the stars of the northern constellation of the Big Dipper in the darkening sky. He wears a pendant of polished pearl shell, a metaphor for “star” because of its luster, suspended by a necklace of strands of finely braided hair of ancestors, treasured for its mana. Over an underwrap of tapa he wears a fine mat, fastened around his waist with braided sennit (coconut fiber). As protection against the chill of the coming night he may use the overwrap of waterproofed and dyed tapa, now slung over his shoulder and fastened about his waist with sennit. His tattoos — waves, birds, and star — are symbolic of his profession (dominant wave patterns, the flight paths of migrating birds, and stars are direction indicators at sea).
The secondary element in the design is a voyaging canoe under sail. A third element is a ki’i aumakua (ancestral spirit image) holding a pearl shell, symbolizing the navigator holding fast to a guiding star. Such images were not portraits, but physical resting places for benevolent ancestral spirits whose invisible presence and helpful power could be called by chants and solicited by acts of respect.
Council of Chiefs-Herb Kawainui Kane
Chiefs discuss tactics before leading their commoners into battle.
The man at right holds a weapon inset with shark teeth (lei o mano).Around his waist is a belly protector of strong matting decorated with feathers. He also holds a throwing spear (ihe). The man facing him holds a stone headed club (newa). Long lances and wooden daggers (pahoa) are seen.
As Captain Cook’s men learned from personal experience, the feathered capes and helmets were “battle apparel.” The longer cloaks, such as seen on the figure in the foreground, were of a more ceremonial nature. The fighting cape might be worn over the shoulders, but in battle it was pulled around the left side of the body and held forward with the left hand to snag a thrust from a dagger or the point of a thrown spear. In this position the right arm was exposed and free to wield a weapon. Feathers were black, white, red, yellow, green and the long rust-red and black feathers of the fighting cock. These were tied over a light netting of cord in a great variety of designs. In battle, the brilliant capes helped warriors identify and rally to their chiefs. Helmets made of strong, light weight basketry protected the head from the impact of stones shot from slings.
Hawaiian tattoo designs were generally not as bold as those of the South Pacific. At their first glimpse of Polynesians, some early Europeans in the Pacific mistook Polynesian tattooing for tight-fitting clothing. Sailors who admired the art returned to Europe sporting Polynesian tattoos. “Tattoo” comes from the Tahitian tatau.
The Secret Night Voyage of Kamehameha III
In 1794 Captain Vancouver and Hawaii’s King Kamehameha agreed upon a treaty that could have brought Hawai’i into the British Empire. The treaty was never ratified, and an 1810 letter from Kamehameha to King George III makes it clear that he interpreted the agreement as one of free association, not cession. But the friendship between Kamehameha and Vancouver was honored in Hawaiian memory, and strengthened by the sympathy shown by Britain on the deaths of Liholiho, Kamehameha II, and Queen Kamamalu in London in 1824. It was an aloha that survived the difficulties caused by a few British citizens in Honolulu who seemed unable to stay out of trouble and made unreasonable demands on Kauikeaouli, King Kamehameha III.
Their complaints were taken up by Lord George Paulet, arriving in 1843 as the captain of a British warship. Acting without instructions from his superior, Paulet pestered the king with demands, at last announcing that if the King did not abdicate and cede Hawai’i to Britain he would turn his ship’s cannon on Honolulu.
Faced with a threat of destruction of Honolulu and harm to his subjects, the king avoided further trouble by granting provisional cession to Britain and disappearing to Maui; but he kept in contact with an American confidant, Dr. Gerritt Judd, who drafted a letter of protest to the British government and letters authorizing a messenger to take the letter to Paulet’s superior, Admiral Thomas, and if necessary to London. To avoid Paulet’s spies, Judd worked in secrecy by candlelight in the royal tomb. When all was ready, word was sent to the king. Sailing by canoe, he left Maui, landed near Honolulu in darkness, and signed the papers.
Paulet, strutting about as self-proclaimed dictator, did not know that the policy of the British government toward the Pacific islands had changed from one of imperialism to one of courtesy, forbearance and diplomacy. When the head of British naval presence in the Pacific, Admiral Richard Thomas, learned of Paulet’s behavior, he hastened to Hawai’i and revoked Paulet’s self-assumed authority. At a joyous ceremony in what later became a park named Thomas Square, the Union Jack was lowered and the Hawaiian flag raised: Kamehameha III then made a statement that became the motto of Hawai’i: “Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono” - “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”
Pele’s Battle with the Sea Goddess
In the form of a great shark Pele’s elder brother Ka-moho-ali’i, custodian of the water of life, guided Pele’s canoe northward from Bora Bora to Hawaii. Some of her brothers and sisters sailed with her. Their first landfall was in the northern islands of the Hawaiian chain.
Pele needed a deep pit for her home wherein her fires could be protected. She moved down the island chain through Ni’ihau and Kauai, digging. But she had been followed from Bora Bora by her sister, Na-maka-o-Kaha’i of the Sea, angry because she believed Pele had seduced her husband. Wherever Pele dug a pit with her digging stick her sister deluged it with water. Thus we find that on the geologically older island of Kauai the craters have become filled with wet swamps. As Pele’s elder sister, the sea goddess was more powerful, for water can quench fire. In a battle on Maui, Pele was killed.
With the death of her mortal self, her spirit was freed, elevated to godly status. Her spirit took flight to the Island of Hawai’i where she excavated a home of craters on Mauna Loa, high above her sister’s reach.
Kukona- Brooke K. Parker
Kukona was the Ali’i Aimoku or sovereign of Kaua’i when Kalaunuiohua of Hawai’i made his descent on the coast of Koloa, and in that neighborhood was met by Kukona and all the Kaua’i chiefs. On the hills above Koloa on the island of Kaua`i stood the heiau and enclosures of the palace of the reigning king of that island kingdom, the gracious Kukona.
His name became in Hawai`i the symbol of the very highest ideals of chivalry in battle. Long before the great sails of Hawai`i and her allies were seen, the court priests of Kaua`i had come before Kukona to warn him of the impending invasion. “And what is the outcome to be?” Kukona had asked, “Victory or defeat for us?” The priests had answered one word, “Victory!” Kukona turned his eyes away and he wept, “O, that the blood of my people and my children, must flow again over their sacred land”.
Kukona was victorious in defending his lands and people from the invading armies. He spared the kings who had come to conquer him. Instead of death, he gave them presents: to their men he gave provisions and supplies. He repaired their canoes and gave them more from his own fleets. He sent them back to their own realms over the seas in the regal state befitting a sovereign king of Hawai`i.
The Death of Cook- Herb Kawainui Kane
This is a more accurate reconstruction of the moment than depicted in earlier paintings. It is based on the eye witness account of Marine Lt. Molesworth Phillips, a study of the weapons and dress of both sides, and estimates by scientists of the physical setting.
This work also includes the first depiction of Hawaiian battle mats, described in British journals as worn in the same manner as the feather capes. In combat the cape was carried over the left shoulder and held forward by the left hand to take the impact of a sling stone or to snag the point of a spear or dagger, leaving the right arm free to wield a weapon.
Geologists believe this coastline has subsided 28 inches in the last 200 years. The rock from which Cook fell is now submerged, but can be located. The waterline on the rock is the result of computer work with moon phases which produced an estimate of the tide at 8:00 AM.
In February 1779, Captain Cook attempted to take Mo’i Kalaniʻōpuʻu (King of Hawai’i) hostage against the return of a stolen boat (a boat stolen out of retaliation for disgracing a chief in public). At a threatening gesture by one of the king’s guards, he fired both barrels of his musket, then ordered the marines to fire. Instead of dispersing, the Hawaiians charged. Phillips heard Cook shout, “Take to the boats!” Phillips was struck down and stabbed in the shoulder, but raised himself and fired at his assailant before escaping. A man with a club struck Cook behind the head, while a chief in a feather cape, known to the British as Nua, rushed around a parked double canoe and stabbed him with one of the iron daggers the ship’s blacksmiths had been forging as trade items. Surgeon’s Mate Samwell described Nua as a of “… great consequence … tall and stout and one who united in his figure the two qualities of strength and agility in a greater degree, than I ever remembered to have seen before in any other man.” Cook fell face down in the water and was stabbed many times.
At the far left, the old king is being escorted to safety. Marine corporal, James Thomas, waist deep in the water, receives a mortal wound from a dagger thrust. Resolution is shown with the foremast removed for repair.
respect the beach brah