Piʻilani the Great, 15th Moʻi of Maui

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Piʻilani the Great, 15th Moʻi of Maui

Also Known As: "Mōʻī o Maui"
Birthplace: Lahaina
Death: Lahaina
Place of Burial: Hana, Island of Maui, Hawaii, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Kawa'okaka'ohele, 14th Mo'i of Maui; Kawaokanele; Kohepalaoa, Princess of O'ahu, Queen Consort of Maui and Princess Kapa-Laoa, Ali'i Chiefess of O'ahu and Consort of Maui
Husband of Princess Kapa-Laoa, Ali'i Chiefess of Kingdom of O'ahu and Queen Consort of Maui; Unknown 2nd Wife; Unknown 3rd Wife and Lāʻielohelohe
Father of Kiha-a-Piʻilani; Pi'ilani Wahine; Lono-a-Pi'ilani 16th Mo'i of Maui and Kalaʻaiheana II Kihawahine
Half brother of Kanehoalani, High Chief and Haua

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About Piʻilani the Great, 15th Moʻi of Maui

Piʻilani 15th Mo'i of Maui. He was sovereign king or chief of the island of Maui. The name of King Pi‘ilani is synonymous with the Golden Age of Maui (1500s–1700s), an era of profound accomplishments and remarkable royal personages. No other monarch is so revered by the people of Maui as Pi'ilani, and even in their poetic forms, the Island of Maui is often addressed as Na-Hono-A-Piilani. Piilani the Great was the 130th generation descendant of Wakea, the God of Light.

Royal Birth

In order to assured the parentage of a royal child, especially the first born, his father Kawaokanele ordered that his bride be secluded from all male company except himself until her pregnancy was assured. As the ancients tell that during this hymeneal seclusion of the Princess Kapa-laoa of O'ahu, Queen Consort of Maui, a strange incident occurred. In the early evening, the peace of the nuptial bower was shattered by the screams of Kapalaoa.

Under Hawaiian kapu warrior guards were forbidden (except under pain of death) to approach the Princess, only her ladies-in-waiting could come to the aid of their queen. As they entered the darkened room, they beheld a fearsome sight.

Resting upon the prostate princess was a huge dragon-like lizard. This form was one traditionally used by the dreaded God of Power and Destruction. It was Kū in his physical manifestations. Even as the women watched, the dragon slowly rose in the semi darkness and disappeared. They were struck blind for their sacrilege in daring to behold a god.

When the Princess Kapa-laoa gave birth to a son he was given the name of Pi'ilani, the Ascent to Heaven, to memorialize the visitation of the divine Ku. This tradition bequeathed to the royalty of Maui, their claim of divine descent and also the belief that their kingdom could never be conquered except by a descendant of Kāne, God of Life and Creation. Kamehameha I whose birth signified his descent from the Kane lineage-- did take the Kingdom of Maui.


Pi‘ilani unified East and West Maui. He built the King’s Highway the only the island-encircling road in all of the eight island of Hawaii. He build ceremonial architecture on a grand scale (Pi‘ilanihale, the largest heiau, or temple, in the Hawaiian Islands). He brought Maui’s rise to political prominence—which continued for two-and-a-half centuries until invasion and conquest by Kamehameha the Great.

Out of Pi‘ilani’s three royal unions, the most significant was to his high-born first cousin La‘ielohelohe. Her father, Kalamakua, was a high chief of O‘ahu. Her mother, Kelea—a celebrated surfer who was reputed to be the most beautiful woman on Maui—was the sister of Pi‘ilani’s father. The union of Pi‘ilani and La‘ielohelohe produced four offspring, all of whom were to play consequential roles in Maui’s and Hawai‘i’s history.

King Pi‘ilani resided occasionally in Hana and Wailuku, and made frequent tours throughout his kingdom to collect taxes, promote industry and enforce order, he ruled from the royal capital at Lahaina, where he was born and is known to have died. His Lahaina residence and the nearby fishpond Mokuhinia became identified with a mo‘o (water deity), which inhabited the cavern beneath Moku‘ula island in Mokuhinia pond. Following her death, Pi‘ilani’s daughter Kala‘aiheana was deified as Kihawahine, the divine mo‘o guarding the royal family and royal descendants. Thus, sacred Moku‘ula became the pivotal spiritual and political focus of the highest bloodlines and the most sacred kapu for the next three centuries even down to the days of Keopuolani and her sons who resided on that island.[1]


^ http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pi%27ilani&action=edit

"The Stories & Genealogies of Maui," http://www.mauiculture.net/mookuauhau/index.html, Accessed 9 Oct 2004.

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Piʻilani the Great, 15th Moʻi of Maui's Timeline

Hana, Island of Maui, Hawaii, USA
Hana, Island of Maui, Hawaii, USA
Hana, Island of Maui, Hawaii, USA
November 14, 1985
Age 408
December 10, 1985
Age 408
November 16, 1996
Age 419
Hana, Island of Maui, Hawaii, USA