Modern artwork of Kalanikauleleiawiwi. Image Credit: Brook Kapukuniahi Parker.

By Gabby Storey

Kalanikauleleiaiwi was co-ruler of Hawai’i, alongside her brother King Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku, in the late 17th and early 18th century. They were both children of the Queen Keakealaniwahine.

Kalanikauleleiaiwi was married four times. Her first husband was Kaulahea II, the king of Maui. Together they had a daughter, Kekūʻiapoiwa. Kekūʻiapoiwa remained on Maui with her paternal family, and later married her half-brother Kekaulike, founding the dynasty of Kekaulike.

Kalanikauleleiaiwi’s second husband was her half-brother, Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku, to whom she bore a son and a daughter, the latter of whom became Kekelaokalani I. Her third husband was Kauaua-a-Mahi, son of Mahiolole, a Kohala chief of the Mahi family. With him she had two sons, Alapaʻinui and Hāʻae-a-Mahi.

Her fourth husband was the Lonoikahaupu, a High Chief of Kauaʻi. Together they had Kalanikauleleiaiwi’s final children, Keawepoepoe and Kanoena. Through her children Kalanikauleleiaiwi was the ancestor of many of the ruling chiefs of Hawaii and the surrounding islands.

Of her rule we know little: it is plausible she would have wielded some power due to her position as ruler stemming from a higher branch of the house than her half-brother, as well as further information regarding the exercise of power by her female predecessors and successors.

Recommended Reading

Abraham Fornander, An Account of the Polynesian Race: Its Origins and Migrations, and the Ancient History of the Hawaiian People to the Times of Kamehameha I, Volume II (London: Trübner & Company, 1880)

Niel Gunson, “Sacred Women Chiefs and Female ‘Headmen’ in Polynesian History,” The Journal of Pacific History 22.3 (1987): 139-172

Stacy L. Kamehiro, The Arts of Kingship: Hawaiian Art and National Culture of the Kalakaua Era (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2009).

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