Ka`ahumanu - Words & Music by Alice Nâmakelua

He nani `o Hana i ka`u `ike
`Âina `olu`olu uluwehiwehi
`Âina piha `oe i ke aloha
A he wahi poina `ole `ia na`u
Ke ku mau no a Ka`uiki
A he pu`u kaulana no ka `âina
He aloha Ka`uiki a e ku nei
Ke one hanau o Ka`ahumanu
Ha`ina ka inoa a i lohe `ia
`O Ka`ahumanu no e o mai


Beautiful is Hana in my sight
Land cool and lush
You are a land filled with love
A place I`ll never forget
There stands Ka`uiki
A famous hill of the land
Beloved is Ka`uiki that stands there
The birthplace of Ka`ahumanu
Tell the name and let it be heard
O Ka`ahumanu, do answer

Source: Hula Record Album: Auntie Alice Ku`uleialohapoina`ole Nâmakelua - The composer was inspired to write this mele September 14, 1973, to commemorate a visit to Hana, birthplace of Ka`ahumanu, the favorite wife of Kamehameha I. Ka`ahumanu, the high-spirited, strong-willed and proud daughter of Ke`eaumoku and Namahana was born about 1768-73. The infant, Ka`ahumanu was taken to Heiau Kaniomoku at Hana, after her birth in the cave at Pu`u Ka`uiki. Her father Ke`eaumoku was at that time, the defender of the pa`a kau`a (fortress) of Ka`uiki. Described as a kind-hearted and obedient child, the young athletic chiefess startled Kamehameha I with her beauty when he saw her at the Makahiki games. Determined to make her his wife, she consented only after he agreed to name any of their children, as his primary heirs. In 1785, between theage 13-18, she married Kamehameha I, in a simple ceremony. He had 2 other wives before he married Ka`ahumanu, but she was his favorite. Unfortunately, there was no issue from this marriage, but Ka`ahumanu raised Liholiho (Kamehameha II), the son of her husband and Keopuolani, the sacred and most high-ranking wife of Kamehameha. George Vancouver, the explorer and a dear friend of Kamehameha admired the affection between the couple and described Ka`ahumanu, as one of the finest women he had ever known. The death of Kamehameha I in 1819, placed young Kalaninui Liholiho on the throne as Kamehameha II, with Ka`ahumanu as the Kuhina Nui. She was a good prime minister, diligent in her duties and loved the power. In this capacity, she started the systematic destruction of the Hawaiian religion with Keopuolani, the sacred Queen. First, they broke the eating kapu for women, then ordered the dismantling of heiaus and burning of the ancient gods. The battle of Kuamoo, the last concerted effort to save the Hawaiian religion, ended in defeat. The arrival of the Christian missionaries in 1820, filled the religious void of the Hawaiians. Ka`ahumanu advised the king to allow them to stay and teach. Intelligient and curious, the chiefess visited the missionaries often, eager to learn about life beyond her native land. When she became ill in 1821, the missionaries, Mr. and Mrs. Bingham visited her every day and forged a friendship that stirred Ka`ahumanu’s interest in Christianity. They taught her to read and write and she became an advocate of education for the people. Upon the death of Liholiho, his brother Kauikeaouli was declared king in 1825, at age 11. Ka`ahumanu was installed as kuhina nui/prime minister and ruled as regent until her death. Returning from a tour of the windward islands, Ka`ahumanu became ill. Servants carried the regent to her cottage in Manoa Valley, pausing at the fresh water spring at Punahou for refreshment, before continuing the 3 miles to her home. During her illness, translation of the New Testament was completed and Mr. Bingham presented her with the first copy bound in red leather with her name engraved in gold letters on the cover. She kept it with her until her death of intestinal illness, June 5, 1832.