PAUMAKUA was one of the great voyagers among the ocean-rovers of over eight hundred years ago. Fornander in his "Account of the Polynesian Race" says: "One of the legends relates that Paumakua, on his return from one of his foreign voyages, brought back with him to Oahu two white men said to have been priests A-ua-ka-hinu and A-ua-ka-mea, afterwards named Kae-kae and Ma-liu, from whom several priestly families in after ages claimed descent and authority." These persons were described as:
In the later years of Hawaiian history, two of the most prominent high priests in all the islands
were among the descendants of these foreigners. Ka-leo-puu-puu had been high priest of Oahu, but on the death of his king he was superseded by his elder brother, Ka-o-pulu-pulu. He was angry and jealous and gladly welcomed an opportunity to go to Maui as the high priest of Kahekili, the king of Maui. Born on the island of Oahu and belonging to one of the most famous families of priests, he understood thoroughly the temperament of the chiefs of that island and was able to give valuable counsel to his new ruler. He also tried to make as much trouble as possible for his brother Kao-pulu-pulu.
It was said that Kahekili followed his advice in creating a division between the king of Oahu and Ka-o-pulu-pulu. He made Kahahana believe that the high priest was secretly hoping to take Oahu from its king and turn it over to himself. This statement was drilled into the mind of the Oahu king while visiting on the island of Molokai. When Kahahana returned to Oahu he did not hesitate to show his enmity toward the high priest. He refused to listen when the priest attempted to give counsel in the meetings of the chiefs. He slighted him in all ways possible and made the fact very evident that he had no confidence in him.
The king not only drove away his high priest, but also estranged his chiefs. It is probable that some of the chiefs rebuked the king for his treatment of such a wise priest and prophet. At any rate the
king "became burdensome to the people as well as capricious and heedless."
After nearly two years of distrust and dissension in the court of the king of Oahu, the king of Maui decided to attempt the conquest of his young friend's kingdom. Internal troubles among the chiefs of the island of Hawaii had arisen in connection with the destruction of the Alapa chiefs and Ka-meha-meha's ascent to rulership. There was therefore no danger of an immediate attack from that quarter. Oahu was entirely unsuspicious of danger. The chief difficulty in the way of conquest was the wise and powerful priest Ka-o-pulu-pulu.
The king of Maui sent one of his most trusted servants to Oahu to bring to a climax the enmity of the king toward his priest. This servant came with an appearance of great concern and told Kahahana very confidentially that the priest had once more sent word to the Maui king that he was ready to turn over Oahu to him and aid in the overthrow of Kahahana, but the Maui king felt such great affection for his friend on Oahu that he could not accept such treachery. His feeling, how-ever, was that he ought to warn Kahahana against such a deceitful subject.
The poison again entered into the soul of the king and his anger grew hot within him. He determined that the priest should die. He knew well that he was king by virtue of the choice of his
chiefs and not by blood descent. He had already found that his word was not the only law in the kingdom. He could not openly declare war against the priest, but he could command him to render assistance in worship and sacrifice. Therefore he announced that he was intending to journey around the island for the avowed purpose of consecrating certain temples and offering sacrifices in others. As king he had the right to perform those duties in person, assisted by his priest.
When he had made full preparation he started on his journey, attended by the usual large train of servants and companions. He proceeded as far as the village Wai-anae on the southwestern coast of the island. From Wai-anae the king sent servants with a command to the priest to come to him.
Throughout all the Hawaiian Islands no priest had a reputation for ability to read the signs of the sacrifices, utter oracles and prepare incantations against enemies greater than that of Ka-o-pulu-pulu. He was thoroughly skilled in all the deep mysteries of priestly lore. He understood the dread power of "praying to death," a power which causes even the intelligent natives of the twentieth century to tremble.
Ka-o-pulu-pulu was fully aware of the enmity of his king and the danger which attended his yielding obedience. He knew also that the plea of the need of omens and sacrifices was well founded.
To him the future of Oahu looked very dark. He felt that he could not refuse attendance upon the king in this round of public sacrifices. If any opportunity arose for consulting the omens in regard to the future welfare of Oahu it was his duty to give the benefit of his wisdom to his people. It was one more instance of going into the jaws of death for the sake of loyal obedience.
He took his son, Ka-hulu-pue, with him and went to Wai-anae. There he was given no opportunity to offer sacrifice, but was attacked by the servants of the king. The priest's son was forced backward toward the sea. The spirit of prophecy came upon the father as he saw the danger of his son and he gave utterance to one of the oracles for which the Hawaiian priesthood has been noted. He called out to his son: "I nui ke aho a moe i ke kai (it is far better to sleep in the sea), no ke kai ka hoi ua aina" (for from the sea shall come the life of the land). Fornander says that the servants drove the young man into the sea, where he was drowned. The seer no longer felt the compulsion of duty impelling him to seek the king. The king's purpose was evident to all the chiefs and Ka-o-pulu-pulu would not be misjudged if he attempted to escape; therefore he fled eastward toward Honolulu, but was overtaken at Pearl Harbour and killed.
When Kahekili learned of the death of this great
priest he hastened to gather his warriors together and fit out an immense fleet of canoes in order to undertake the conquest of Oahu.
The decisive battle was soon fought and Kahekili secured control over Oahu. Kahahana escaped and for many months wandered over the mountains back of Honolulu, but was at last betrayed and killed.
The oracle of Ka-o-pulu-pulu uttered at the time of the death of his son was kept in the hearts of the natives and its method of fulfilment has been noted. The oracle was easily remembered, although the words concerning the death of his son are repeated in various forms. The oracle reads: "No ke kai ka hoi ua aina" (from the sea comes the life of the land).
When Kahekili landed from his fleet of canoes, and conquered Kahahana, the people said, "The life of the land has come from the sea." Then again when Ka-meha-meha came from Hawaii, conquered Oahu and made Honolulu the centre of his kingdom, the old natives of the island repeated the prophecy and considered it fulfilled.
And yet once more the prophecy was remembered when the foreigners came over the ocean filling the land with new ideas, and with the bustle of new and enlarged business, beautifying and enriching all the island life with new homes and new arts.