About Na Kaleikaumaka Outrigger Camps
The Last Hawaiian Mariner
(condensed version)
by Kawika Sands 1999


Chapter 9
Landing at Ka`ula, just after sunrise, Mo`ikeha found Puna's servant with the palaoa. Confused for a few moments by the early arrival of a chief he didn't know, the servant gave the palaoa to Mo`ikeha as were his instructions for the first chief demanding it. Content with it's possession, Mo`ikeha and La`amaomao remained for refreshment until mid-day before starting back with the same speed that brought them.

Toward nightfall, the other chiefs landed within a few hours of each other and were astonished to hear the palaoa had already been claimed early that morning. "He must have had wings!" one exclaimed. "He must have been helped by the gods!" suggested another. "But for that, the palaoa would have been mine, as you all know!" another jested. "Who can struggle with the gods? Let us not incur their anger by complaint!" As they reconciled themselves to Mo`ikeha's success, good humor and friendship was soon restored, as was the condition of the contest.

The next morning, in the company of Puna's servant, they re-embarked for Kaua`i. That evening, Mo`ikeha landed at Kapa`a and placed Puna's palaoa in his hands, making him Ho`oipo's husband. As she bounded and shouted for joy she confessing her happiness with him. Within the next few days the defeated chiefs returned to Kapa`a and Mo`ikeha invited them to a feast over which they forgot any trace of rivalry between them while renewing pledges of friendship.

At the feast, Puna's chiefs sought many ingenious ways to draw Mo`ikeha's secret of success from him. But, they failed to enlighten themselves and so were compelled to content themselves with the belief that he was assisted by some supernatural power. "It must have been the evil Uhumakaikai!" said one "Or Apukohai!" said another, the great fish-god of Kaua`i who sometimes seized canoes and bore them onward with incredible speed. With the race won, the Puna approved, and the love of these young people being mutual, Ho`oipo took Mo`ikeha to be her husband.

Puna eventually passed away. Upon his death, Mo`ikeha became ali`i nui of Kaua`i. As was usual on the death of a king, there was the strife that befalls the realm of a late king. All manner of kapu were broken while others mourned the death of this benevolent ruler. Per the custom of the day, Mo`ikeha was removed to another district until the Puna's body was interned properly while the priests preformed the chants and prayers per ancient tradition including the flying of a kite shaped like a fish per the rites of Lolupe. Upon the completion of these traditions, Mo`ikeha was returned to the district.

Ho`oipo later gave Mo`ikeha three children, all boys. All named with his brother `Olopana in mind. Ho`okamali`i, named for the skin of `Olopana; Haulaninuiaiakea, named for the eyes of `Olopana; and Kila, named for the wife of `Olopana (Lu`ukia). Twenty-five years later, Mo`ikeha had worked hard to make his wife and three children happy at his principal residence at Waialua, giving his undivided attention to the raising of his boys.

As in the court of Puna, the court of Mo`ikeha was also noted for it's distinguished chiefs, priests, prophets and poets with feasts and entertainments reminiscent of his late father-in-law. Kumuhonua, Mo`ikeha's elder brother, succeeded to the rank of king of O`ahu upon the death of their father, Mulielealii. He thought no more of Lu`ukia, but, as his life was drawing to a close, he began to feel a yearning desire to see his foster-son La`a, whom he had left with his brother as a boy back in Kahiki as `Olopana's heir.

Mo`ikeha called his three sons together and said to them "My prophets agree with me that I am too old to travel to Kahiki to see your elder brother, La`amaikahiki. So, I'm thinking of sending one of you boys to bring your elder brother to Hawai`i." The boys became greatly excited at the prospect of the adventure, each one shouting "Let me go! Let me go!" For years travel between Hawai`i and Kahiki had been almost completely suspended. When Mo`ikeha saw there would be much contention among his sons, he felt he should devise a test to determine who would lead the voyage to Kahiki.

Kila was delighted by the prospect of the mission. By far Mo`ikeha's favorite, and closely resembling Mo`ikeha, over the years Kila had become known for his capacity, courage and skill as a navigator. From his boyhood, Kila dreamed of visits to the far-off misty shores of Kahiki of which he heard his father speak many times. Now that the possibility of gratifying his hunger for adventure to unknown seas was at hand, his joy was boundless.

Mo`ikeha finally hit on the answer. "Let each of you make and bring a ki-leaf canoe. You will sail it across the river, each in turn. The one whose canoe lands between my thighs shall be the one to go." After the boys made their toy canoes, Mo`ikeha took them to a river, went to the opposite bank and sat down facing the wind. Meanwhile, the boys proceeded to a point right across and upwind from their father. The oldest boy set his canoe down in the water and aimed it toward the desired point, but it missed the mark. The second boy set his canoe down in the water and it too missed the mark. Then Kila took his canoe, set it down in the water and sailed it directly to his father. Mo`ikeha knew then that his favorite son would excel his brothers at sea.

When his brothers saw Kila had won, they became furious and began devising ways of getting rid of him for good. Soon after this, Kila's brothers invited him to go shoot arrows, but Mo`ikeha and Ho`oipo knew the boys had no love for Kila. So, Mo`ikeha did not allow Kila to join them. The older brothers continued to pretend to be kind to Kila in every way possible, but their father still refused to allow Kila to go. Kila was safe, for the time being

Part 18<< -|- Index -|- >> Part 20

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Copyright 1999 Kawika Sands
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