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Transforming Hawai‘i


The Hawaiian Political Transformation from 1770 to 1796

No one alive in 1778 would have predicted that the Hawaiian Islands would be unified in their lifetime, or that Kamehameha would be the chief to bring it about. To understand how the potential for unification noted by scholars became a reality requires a detailed examination of political and military structural transformations that picked up momentum after 1770. Robert Hommon discusses global writings on warfare and state formation in The Ancient Hawaiian State, including the work of Charles Tilly and Robert Carneiro, and makes a strong connection between the two. Hommon concludes that warfare was a causative link but not a crucial factor in Hawaiian state formation because war was pursued by states and non-states alike. Rather, to Hommon, the key influence on Hawaiian state formation was the political innovation of ‘both holding centralised political power and delegating it’.1 This and the following chapter contest Hommon’s dichotomy by arguing that changes to the nature of political and military power in the late 18th century were interrelated. Escalating chiefly rivalries spurred military reforms and forced chiefs to delegate authority to accommodate a structure of warfare that mobilised and relied upon a greater proportion of the polities’ residents and resources. Hawaiian society became more militarised as chiefs threw off the vestiges of sacred power that had come to constrain them, and altered their warfare to make it more efficient, even though this resulted in an erosion of chiefly status on the battlefield.

The structure of consent: Religious beliefs and social relationships

Hawaiian polities on the eve of Kamehameha’s wars of unification are best characterised as politically advanced chiefdoms according to the standard framework outlined in Chapter 1. The authority of the chiefs rested heavily upon their sacred status. Secular power was relatively loose and decentralised, with limited development of centralised coercive and administrative structures. Yet, by the late 18th century, Hawaiian society was moving towards instituting features that are more usually associated with early states. Localised kinship affiliations were weak and the courts of ruling chiefs contained the seeds of centralised administrative structures. But, perhaps the most noticeable feature of this period was the tension between the increasing resort to coercive power and continued reliance on sacred legitimacy. By 1770, Hawaiian chiefs were reaching the limits of sacred power.

Religious ritual played a prominent role in the organisation of Hawaiian life in this period. Gods and spirits of dead ancestors influenced the affairs of mortals. Natural phenomena were interpreted as supernatural omens, and all actions took into consideration the utterances of spirit mediums and oracles. The gods were appealed to for protection from hostile forces and ceremonies involving prayers and offerings were enacted seeking assistance in various undertakings.

The four major gods: Kū, Lono, Kāne and Kanaloa, were general categories rather than specific gods. Each god category encompassed a wide variety of particular forms. For example, Kū, in his violent form, was the war god of the Hawaiian chiefs yet, through this association with war, Kū was also connected with prosperity and fertility as the dividends of victory. There was no fixed hierarchy within the Hawaiian pantheon. Because of often multiple associations, the relative importance of gods depended upon the context in which they were worshipped. Changing hierarchies and associations within the pantheon occurred as the perceived needs of supplicants varied in time and place.2

While the Hawaiians did not distinguish between supernatural and human agency as modern European society does, they did draw a sharp distinction between kapu (sacred) and noa (non-sacred) elements. Kapu status, which carried restrictions to isolate its possessor from other elements, signalled a close association with the supernatural world, whose powers were so great that they needed to be approached with caution. Valerio Valeri maintains that improper contact between kapu and noa elements also threatened the efficacy of kapu elements in Hawai‘i. Revised interpretations in the 1980s, however, suggest that noa referred to the subject in question being free of the restrictions that kapu status conferred. This interpretation is consistent with revisions of kapu and noa elsewhere in Polynesia. It is now believed that, apart from certain highly sacred individuals who were always kapu, most men and certain women moved between states of kapu and noa depending on circumstances.3

Daily activities were regulated by a relatively fixed and regular system of prohibitions. These were also known as kapu. Kapu intruded into all aspects of life, reinforcing social divisions by restricting contact between genders, separating sacred and profane classes, and dictating the conduct of daily activities such as eating, work and leisure. Kapu also served to organise the year’s activities. The year was divided into the ceremonial periods of Kau and Ho‘oilo, which roughly corresponded to the dry and rainy seasons respectively. During Kau, four kapu periods were observed each month, each of two to three days’ duration. The attendance of chiefs and priests at temples was required during these periods, and commoners’ activities were restricted.4 In Ho‘oilo, a harvest festival known as the makahiki dominated the ceremonial calendar. During the makahiki in Ho‘oilo, events observed during Kau were suspended, as were temple building and warfare while Lono, as the god of fertility, achieved temporary ascendancy over the war god form of Kū.

The makahiki season roughly coincided with the period of October to January on the European calendar and centred upon the collection of first fruits’ offerings to Lono in thanks for a successful crop. In its final phase, images of the god were carried around each island. According to Kēlou Kamakau, the passage of the god image around the island lasted 23 days. A strict kapu on warfare and offshore fishing applied during this time. The giving of tribute to Lono by each local community, public feasts and entertainment – such as dancing and boxing contests – marked the images’ journey. The makahiki ended with the rite of Kali‘i, in which the followers of Kū reasserted the dominance of their god, and the images of Lono were set adrift in a canoe. At the end of the makahiki, the paramount chief would dedicate a temple to Lono in preparation for a year of peace, or to Kū in preparation for war. The dedication of such a temple involved a major commitment in terms of labour and offerings, as well as a long and complex ceremony.5

The kapu divided Hawaiian society in to two distinct groups: the chiefs (ali‘i), and the commoners (maka‘āinana). Although both were believed to have descended from the god Papa and his consort Wakea, only the ali‘i were deemed to be sacred. This was because the ali‘i were considered to have descended directly from the gods while the maka‘āinana were only connected to the gods through junior branches of lineages. Status was more a function of genealogical seniority than of age or gender. A person from a genealogically senior branch outranked older generations of junior branches. Chiefs were ranked according to the purity of their descent from the gods. Each rank was associated with a personal kapu that was conferred at birth. The higher the rank, the stricter the kapu. As sacredness was hereditary, marriage was an important determinant of rank. Because of the association of high rank with closeness to the gods, much importance was attached to the rank of candidates for the part of paramount chief (mō‘ī). Mō‘ī and their nuclear families sought to conceive unions that would produce offspring of the highest possible rank. The ranks that could result from various unions and their associated kapu are outlined in Table 2.6

The ruling chief, and his offspring from unions with high-ranking female chiefs formed a small, incestuous group that made up the senior branch of the chiefly stratum. They were known as the ali‘i nui. All other ali‘i were viewed as collateral junior branches of the chiefly stratum and, therefore, less suitable candidates to be paramount, although they were by no means wholly excluded from contention. The dividing line between junior ali‘i and maka‘āinana was defined by the individual’s relationship to the incumbent mō‘ī. Chiefly status was determined at the accession of a new ruler during the hale nauā ceremony, where a link with the ruler’s ancestral line was sought. In general, an ali‘i’s importance varied inversely with the number of generations required to prove the link. According to David Malo, the questioning only extended to the 10th ascending generation.7 Failure to prove such a link condemned lesser ali‘i to the ranks of the maka‘āinana. There does not seem to have been any upward mobility in rank from the status of maka‘āinana. By the late 18th century the rift between ali‘i and maka‘āinana was profound. Just as incestuous marriages kept the senior branch of the chiefly elite small and selective, the hale nauā ceremony kept the ranks of the ali‘i restricted. Maka‘āinana did not maintain lengthy family genealogies, and made up the vast majority of the population.

The relationship between the mō‘ī and his maka‘āinana subjects was one of mutual obligations and duties. The maka‘āinana provided labour and taxes in kind to support their ruler in return for his mediation with the most powerful gods to secure bountiful harvests, and protection from potential threats. The ali‘i nui were able to do this because of their close connection with the gods. Indeed the highest ranking ali‘i seem to have been considered to possess certain attributes that were characteristic of gods. Depictions of ali‘i and gods closely echoed each other in terms of their ranks, associated kapu, and insignia. Whether ali‘i nui were considered to be living gods is uncertain, however, it is clear that deceased ali‘i of the senior branch were considered to be ‘aumakua (ancestral spirits) of their successors. In 1819, for example, ‘A house was built for Kamehameha’s bones for the purpose of deifying him so that he could become an ‘aumakua – a family god’.8 ‘Aumakua were believed to influence the affairs of humans.

The significance attached to religious ritual meant that priests (kahuna) occupied an important role in Hawaiian society as appellants to, and interpreters of the gods. There were a number of regular orders of kahuna as well as less conventional kahuna that were usually associated with prophecy or sorcery. Unexpected deaths were often put down to sorcery, and an important member of any mō‘ī’s personal pantheon was his sorcery deity to assist him against his enemies and their sorcerers. War gods and sorcery gods were used to destroy rivals. The importance attached to these gods by ruling chiefs is suggested by their epithet: mau akua ‘imi aupuai (gods who sought kingdoms).9 High priests (kahuna nui) were closely linked to high chiefs. Knowledge of the most important ritual and learning was restricted to these two groups. A detailed account of the Hoomanamana priestly order, which was recorded in the mid-19th century, suggests that these orders were organised into specialised divisions, such as prophecy and medicine, each of which was associated with a specific god.10 One had to excel at all of the specialties within one’s particular priesthood before being considered worthy of becoming a high priest. Most high-ranking kahuna seem to have been drawn from the ali‘i class. Senior kahuna advised mō‘ī upon ritual and spiritual matters, and were much valued as a significant part of any ruler’s legitimacy rested upon his ritual efficacy. Some kahuna nui, like Kalanihula of the Hawai‘i, served as advisers to successive generations of mō‘ī, and were invaluable advisers on secular aspects of rule as well as ritual. Others had an even more direct connection to the secular power of the high chiefs. Koa, the old priest encountered by James Cook in 1779, had once been a famous warrior.11

Table 2: Hawaiian chiefly rank system


Rank of child

Membership criteria

Associated kapu



Parents both of highest rank

Kapu moe


Offspring of full-sibling marriage of nī‘aupi‘o rank

Kapu moe


Offspring of half-sibling marriage of nī‘aupi‘o rank

Kapu noho


Offspring of nī‘aupi‘o , pi‘o, or naha father with close female relative

Kapu wohi


Offspring of nī‘aupi‘o, pi‘o, or naha mother with a lower ranking chief


Offspring of high-ranked father with mother of a relative through younger siblings

Lā‘au ali‘i

Parents are children of high chiefs through secondary matings

Kaukau ali‘i

Flexible term signifying an inferior or dependent status; descendants of high chiefs through collateral branches


Ali‘i noanoa

Literally ‘without kapu’ – offspring of a high chief and a commoner woman – not recognised as ali‘i unless special provision made

Source: Kirch (2010), p. 36.

The mō‘ī remained the supreme mediator between men and the gods. Only the mō‘ī and, perhaps, the most senior kahuna could communicate with the most powerful gods of the Hawaiian pantheon. Only ali‘i of the senior branch could conduct human sacrifice, the supreme appeal to the gods.12 This special relationship with the gods was not, however, accepted unquestioningly. Failure to prove the existence of this relationship through the successful completion of temple ritual, and tangible signs of the god’s favour like success in war and prosperity in peace, threatened the security of the mō‘ī’s rule.

This relationship between the mō‘ī and gods was conceived of in terms of mana. Mana was divine energy that could be conferred or withdrawn by the supernatural world. Objects and persons were merely mediums and reservoirs for mana. Mana also derived from the accumulated achievements of ancestors, so that ali‘i attempted to locate and desecrate the secreted remains of their enemies’ ancestors. Some emblems of chiefly status were made from the bones of slain rival ali‘i. The ruling chief obtained mana from his sacred status, but this could diminish without concrete achievements. Defeat in warfare and natural disasters within a mō‘ī’s lands were seen as indications of the god’s withdrawal of mana. As such, the leadership was open to challenge by ambitious rivals. The relative mana of rival ali‘i was put to the test in wars between rival ruling chiefs, succession disputes and rebellions. The mō‘ī was not always the highest ranking ali‘i. Kamehameha was of the wohi rank and secured the rule of the leeward districts of Hawai‘i by defeating the higher ranking nī‘aupi‘o ali‘i, Kīwala‘ō.13

The sacred and secular aspects of ali‘i power complemented each other, as ali‘i believed favour by the gods would attract many followers, and these followers would provide him with a secular power base with which to achieve what his reputation suggested he was capable of. In other ways, the sacred and secular aspects of a ruler’s power were not so compatible. As Valeri notes, ‘The [King] thus must maintain his transcendence, to be separated from all men, but at the same time he must enter into a contract with them to demonstrate his power … created by society through a myriad of rules of separation, the king’s divinity incurs a debt in relation to society that it must pay sooner or later’.14

From sacred to secular power? Balancing coercion and consent

The kapu of the ali‘i was a double-edged sword. This was particularly true of the more demanding kapu of ali‘i of the senior branch. They needed to intervene in worldly affairs to assert their mana, yet did so surrounded and protected by kapu that restrained their actions. Some high-ranking ali‘i had to travel at night so that their kapu that required maka‘āinana to prostrate themselves in their presence did not disrupt daily activities, and so that the risk of polluting their status by coming into contact with impure persons and objects was lessened.15

By the late 18th century, kapu restrictions were being circumvented for political efficacy. A number of high-ranking ali‘i interacted with maka‘āinana. There are a number of references in Hawaiian traditions to mō‘ī personally supervising the improvement of agricultural fields, even down to individual taro patches. Presumably, this involved some contact with the local cultivators, unless instructions were directed through the lesser ali‘i who supervised particular localities for the ruler. Kamehameha certainly laboured in his own fields and was said to have been well liked by his maka‘āinana subjects. Kalanikūpule, a young ali‘i nui from the Maui ruling house, was also much loved by maka‘āinana. Kamakau states that he would fraternise with even the humblest of his subjects.16

Ali‘i nui also participated in battles. Some were killed in combat, and not necessarily by ali‘i of similar rank. It is unclear if any rules of combat governed conduct towards ali‘i nui in battle. Two incidents from the life of the nī‘aupi‘o ali‘i Kīwala‘ō, however, suggest a pattern. According to traditions, when Kīwala‘ō intervened in a battle on Maui, he effectively ended the battle as the combatants were obliged to throw down their weapons and prostrate themselves in his presence. Yet, in a later battle at Moku‘ōhai on Hawai‘i, Kīwala‘ō’s supporters were routed when his slaying by the lesser ali‘i Kalaimoku broke their morale.17

At Moku‘ōhai, Kamehameha challenged Kīwala‘ō for the right to succeed Kalani‘ōpu‘u as mō‘ī of Hawai‘i. The stakes were high, and a substantial demonstration of prowess and resolve may have been required to win over wavering supporters. It may also be significant that both Kīwala‘ō and Kalaimoku were high-ranking ali‘i. In contrast, the fight on Maui was between the forces of two well-established rulers – Kahekili of Maui and Kalani‘ōpu‘u of Hawai‘i. Kamakau’s description of Kīwala‘ō’s intervention here suggests that symbols of his high status were prominently displayed to signal his intentions. While ali‘i wore distinctive yellow and red protective cloaks in battle, on this occasion

Kīwala‘ō was dressed in the garments of a chief and attended by Ka-me‘e-ia-moku bearing the spittoon and Ka-manawa carrying the Kāhili. As Kīwala‘ō advanced, splendidly arrayed, endowed with the kapu of a god and covered with the colors of the rainbow, down fell the fighting men of both sides prostrate to the ground because of his divine rank as a nī‘aupi‘o and the severe tabu that demanded prostration to avoid facing the sacred back of a chief. The soldiers of Maui wished to ignore the tabu, regretting the cessation of the fighting, but Kīwala‘ō continued on to Wailuku.18

Kīwala‘ō’s success in ending the fighting, despite the Maui warriors’ desire to press home their advantage, may also have been due to kinship links between prominent ali‘i within the rival camps. Kīwala‘ō was not only the son of Kalani‘ōpu‘u, but was also related to Kahekili. His two attendants, Kame‘eiamoku and Kamanawa, were Kahekili’s half-brothers.

Another strategy used to overcome the restraining influence of kapu on the actions of mō‘ī was the delegation of ritual obligations to close relatives. Kamehameha made his younger brother, Keali‘imoikai, the sometime personal guardian of the ruler’s (Kamehameha) kapu, thus freeing himself to more actively pursue secular and potentially defiling affairs of state. When Kamehameha had to cut short his ceremonial duties during the makahiki season in 1794 to accompany George Vancouver to Kealakekua Bay, he designated his half-brother to stand in for him, after first consulting with his kahuna.19

In some instances, kapu were modified to accommodate chiefly interactions with Europeans. But, in all cases, due consideration was given to ritual requirements. According to Vancouver, Kamehameha’s reluctant modification of the 1794–95 makahiki came about because of Vancouver’s threat to take his trade elsewhere. In the previous year, Vancouver’s provisioning at Kealakekua Bay had been delayed while Kamehameha was in the process of being ritually purified as the makahiki drew to a close. Even in 1794, however, religious considerations were not overlooked, despite Vancouver’s threat; makahiki ceremonies were merely delayed one lunar month to accommodate him.20 Vancouver also relates how, in January 1794, the 10-day kapu of ‘Hahcoo’ (Haiku) that pertained to fishing was shortened by Kamehameha in the district that Vancouver was visiting to allow him to be supplied with fish. Vancouver was under the impression that this was allowable in Hawaiian custom if the ‘king’ so desired.21

By the late 18th century, observation of the makahiki may have been considered by rival mō‘ī as merely a convenient breathing space between campaigns. The makahiki was a time when winter weather disrupted movement and much attention focused upon the planting of crops to take advantage of winter rains. The fact that a religious procession went throughout the mō‘ī’s domains and demanded offerings for Lono is seen by some as an indication that the makahiki served as a means of reasserting his power, with the offerings serving as de facto tribute.22 Table A1, Appendix 1, shows that armies remained mobilised in the field during a number of makahiki seasons. Marshall Sahlins suggests that the makahiki kapu on warfare only applied when the image of Lono made its brief island circuit of around three weeks duration.23 Whether this represented a compromise on earlier practice is unclear. Anthropologist Gananath Obeyesekere claims that fighting took place on Maui during the 1778–79 makahiki circuit, although he does not make the important distinction between fighting and mobilisation made here.24

It is apparent that there were tensions between ali‘i and kahuna during the 1770s. During Cook’s visits to Kealakekua Bay, certain kahuna of Lono were friendly to the Europeans, even after the outbreak of hostilities between the English and supporters of the local mō‘ī, Kalani‘ōpu‘u. Although Obeyesekere asserts that the priests identified with Lono were acting on Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s orders, Cook’s officers believed he was angry with them for giving Cook permission to use a temple site (heiau) without his consent. Captain Charles Clerke and others in Cook’s expedition noted that the priests of Lono disliked the mō‘ī’s local representative, Koa. Gavan Daws has hypothesised that the apparent deification of Cook as Lono may have been an attempt by the kahuna of Lono to reassert themselves against the now politically dominant cult of Kū by associating their god with the power of the Europeans.25

Sahlins argues that the followers of Kū and Lono conceived differing relationships with Cook. Kalani‘ōpu‘u gave his feather cloak and helmet to Cook as well as a royal flywhisk – all symbols of royal kapu status. In contrast, the high priest Ka‘o dressed Cook in a mantle of red tapa cloth. The same was done to images of gods in heiau. To Sahlins, this suggests that the mō‘ī represented Cook in his own social image as a divine warrior, while the kahuna nui represented Cook as a manifestation of a god. Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s exchange of names with Cook, and the latter’s gifts to the mō‘ī, as well as the Lono priests’ surrender of iron adzes given to them by the British are all seen by Sahlins as being consistent with the ritual transfer of sovereignty from Lono back to Kū that ended every makahiki. Cook’s out-of-season return a few days after his departure was therefore seen as a challenge to the sovereignty of Kalani‘ōpu‘u and Kū. It was the Kali‘i ceremony in reverse. Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s retainers naturally resisted Cook’s attempts to take their mō‘ī to sea, just as Lono’s adherents ritually resisted the mō‘ī’s wading ashore to usurp Lono during the Kali‘i ceremony.26

Other instances of kahuna seemingly coming into conflict with ali‘i occurred in this period. In the 1780s, such a conflict resulted in the ruler of O‘ahu, Kahahana, killing his kahuna nui, Kaopulupulu, after the latter’s prolonged opposition to Kahahana’s policy of appeasement towards his uncle, Kahekili of Maui.27 While the kahuna nui of some priesthoods associated with the worship of Kū and Lono almost became hereditary, and had land granted to them by mō‘ī,28 the priesthoods do not appear to have developed independent power bases. What influence they exercised in the secular realm derived from the fortunes of their particular ali‘i, and the continued, although perhaps diminishing, importance of ritual to chiefly rule.

Although mō‘ī do not seem to have tolerated open opposition from kahuna at this stage, they were still not willing or able to totally break with them. A major part of the ruler’s authority still appears to have rested upon his sacred status, particularly with regard to the maka‘āinana majority. Hawaiian traditions abound with examples of rulers who were overthrown when they became unpopular for neglecting their ritual duties. Support for Kahahana, for example, is said to have weakened significantly after his murder of Kaopulupulu.29 The fact that some rulers sought the advice of renowned kahuna from outside of their realms suggests that their concerns went beyond purely secular affairs of state. Kamehameha, for example, sought the advice of the famous Kaua‘i soothsayer Kapoukahi, then resident on O‘ahu.30 Some orders were, however, privileged over others. Sahlins notes that Kamehameha continued his predecessor Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s practice of favouring the priests of Kū over those of Lono, with the latter having little influence in affairs of state.31

The modification of kapu and the subsidiary role of kahuna in Hawaiian politics do not necessarily reflect irreligious attitudes among the chiefly elite. Rather the beliefs of the ali‘i were influenced by the demand and need for tangible benefits in the competitive arena of chiefly politics. Although the gods were believed to be the source of power, their power rested upon men’s worship, and particularly upon the sacrifices made to them. Worship was usually referred to as ho‘omana, translated by Valeri as ‘to cause one to have mana, to empower’.32 Gods and mō‘ī needed adherents, and could lose support for not producing benefits. When the son of the ali‘i Kalaimoku died from a wound received during a sparring exercise with spears, anger at their god for allowing this to happen was expressed. Vancouver noted that a kapu due to begin on 23 January 1794 was suspended ‘to manifest that they were offended with their deity for the death of this young chief’.33 The kapu was again observed soon after, but only from sunset to the following sunrise instead of the usual two nights and one whole day, again to signal the community’s resentment at their god. Kalaimoku ignored all kapu following the death of his son until 29 January.

Maka‘āinana seem to have generally adhered to the kapu of the gods and that of the ali‘i. The fact that secular sanctions against kapu-breakers existed, and were occasionally used, suggests that this adherence was not entirely due to belief in the underlying assumptions of the kapu system. To assess the degree to which the threat of chiefly punitive actions dictated maka‘āinana obedience, it is necessary to examine evidence on the religious beliefs of maka‘āinana, the conditions under which maka‘āinana lived, and whether they had the ability to change their circumstances.

Maka‘āinana were mainly concerned throughout the year with rituals surrounding subsistence and family affairs. They worshipped ancestral deities and spirits, usually in household shrines or small local shrines. Daily life was mostly influenced by kapu pertaining to gender and age distinctions among kinsmen. The persistence of this type of worship well into the 19th century is testament to the strength of belief at this level. Maka‘āinana also participated in larger agricultural rituals under the auspices of local ali‘i and kahuna of Lono.34 Lono was a popular god among the maka‘āinana and not only was he worshipped in heiau, he was also the main deity worshipped in domestic shrines. In this respect Lono was ‘the mediator between polity and society’.35 Presumably the kahuna of Lono were the cultural intermediaries between chiefly and commoner cultures, the crucial conveyers of the ideology that justified the Hawaiian social order.36

Malo and the 19th-century Hawaiian cultural historian Kepelino state that kahuna were much respected by the common people.37 The same could not be said, however, for the images of the gods. Ship’s surgeon on Cook’s expedition David Samwell noted that:

Tho’ they look upon these Idols as their Gods they pay no great reverence to them, for when any of us laughed at them and treated with Contempt even those we supposed the most sacred among them, the Indians instead of being offended, would join with us in ridiculing them and seemed to think as lightly of them as we did; and there was none of them that they would not sell even for trifles.38

Obviously such behaviour may reflect a disbelief in the power of idols rather than the gods they represented, and may also be the result of the ambiguities of intercultural interaction.

During Cook’s visits, maka‘āinana seem to have been genuinely overawed by ali‘i nui and obedient of kapu. But in the absence of ali‘i nui they were often less willing to adhere to kapu, even in the presence of lesser ali‘i acting on behalf of the mō‘ī. Incidents abound of maka‘āinana meekly acquiescing to high-handed and often violent treatment at the hands of ali‘i nui. In January 1778, for example, Cook’s expedition saw a double canoe carrying the high-ranking Kaua‘i ali‘i Kāneoneo simply run over a number of smaller canoes occupied by maka‘āinana without the slightest attempt to avoid them. The maka‘āinana could not paddle out of the way because Kāneoneo’s status demanded that they prostrate themselves face down in his presence.39 Cook and his officers noted that Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s kapu on trade was only broken when the old mō‘ī was absent on campaign with his warriors. In one instance, an ali‘i launched a canoe to prevent commoners breaking the kapu and coming out to trade, but he was driven off by a ‘musquet fir’d over his head to make him disist’.40 The maka‘āinana continued to trade, apparently undaunted by the prospect of the ali‘i’s wrath when they returned to shore.

Lesser ali‘i, in maintaining order at Kealakekua Bay during the absence of Kalani‘ōpu‘u, sometimes had to resort to physical force to expel maka‘āinana from Cook’s vessels. In the absence of the controlling influence of ali‘i, crowds of maka‘āinana could become quite troublesome. Maka‘āinana women were particularly prominent in the infringement of kapu regulating contacts with foreign vessels. They often engaged in the forbidden act of eating kapu food in the company of members of the all-male crew. Such behaviour may explain why Malo claimed that the majority of women were irreligious.41

Outside situations involving contacts with Europeans, maka‘āinana seem to have rarely offered open resistance to ali‘i demands for labour, food tribute and military service. Malo provides the names of eight ‘kings’ killed by uprisings against their rule. Three were mō‘ī, and the others were subordinate ali‘i administering lands within their rulers’ domains. All the revolts were said to have been motivated by the abuse of power rather than by a desire to overthrow the concept of divinely ordained ali‘i rule. These so-called ‘commoner revolts’ were actually led by chiefly rivals of the ali‘i concerned. Individual chiefs changed, but not the rule of chiefs.42

The issue of revolts raises the question of whether the relationship between the ali‘i and maka‘āinana gave the latter reason to seek change. Maka‘āinana spent most of their lives within highly localised units known as ahupua‘a. These were land divisions with defined boundaries. The name ahupua‘a derives from the fact that their boundaries were marked by altars (ahu) dedicated to Lono as rain god through offerings of hog’s heads (pua‘a).43 All of the inhabited islands in the chain were divided into ahupua‘a. Most ahupua‘a were only a few miles wide at the coast and extended some distance inland. In general they were relatively economically self-sufficient. Ahupua‘a were divided into smaller sections that were held and worked by extended households of maka‘āinana. It appears that most households were able to be self-supporting from the lands they worked and, while there were some exchange networks between relations in food staples, these were probably conducted within the ahupua‘a or, at most, with neighbouring ahupua‘a. Maka‘āinana social organisation was based largely on affinal links rather than lineal descent relationships, which could rarely be traced beyond grandparents. There appears to have been no surviving traces of corporate kinship units by contact.44

Each ahupua‘a was part of an autonomous polity known as a moku. Moku were ruled over by mō‘ī. The ruling mō‘ī appointed lesser ali‘i to control ahupua‘a within his domains (ali‘i ‘ai ahupua‘a). These ali‘i in turn might appoint one or more overseers (konohiki) to organise work parties, collect tribute, mobilise maka‘āinana levies in time of war, and generally ensure that the mō‘ī’s interests were maintained. The relationship between the terms ali‘i ‘ai ahupua‘a and konohiki is blurred in places. Ali‘i ‘ai ahupua‘a were the highest level konohiki of an ahupua‘a. Most konohiki were lesser ali‘i associated with the lineages of incumbent paramount chiefs or of senior ali‘i of their particular district within the moku.45 Land records from the 1840s also reveal that there was a further category of supervisor below konohiki known as konohiki hope.46

Maka‘āinana had the right to use and occupy land indefinitely as long as they were deemed to have met the tributary and labour demands of the ali‘i. Beneath the mō‘ī, land was not ‘owned’ in the European sense, but rather rights of use were conferred, usually with the implied subordination of the recipient. The main requirement for maintaining land rights was the giving of ho‘okupu, in the form of produce from the land, especially its first fruits. These presentations were made to the land occupier’s immediate overlord all the way up the chain to the mō‘ī and beyond to the gods. Maka‘āinana could not own the land. Despite the periodic imposition of new konohiki at the accession of new mō‘ī, maka‘āinana occupancy seems to have been relatively secure. Nineteenth-century land commission records suggest that the eldest son inherited most maka‘āinana land. It was not in the interests of ali‘i to disrupt cultivation by breaking this pattern, and maka‘āinana apparently had the right to abandon their land and move into the territory of another overlord if they were unfairly treated by their konohiki or ali‘i. This right is suggested by the Hawaiian phrase ‘imi haku’ (seeking a lord). It is important to note that the only recorded instances of attempts to change overlords in this period came from subordinate ali‘i and their retinues, rather than from communities of maka‘āinana. A notable example was Ka‘iana. Originally a vassal ali‘i of Kahekili of Maui, he fought against Kahekili on O‘ahu, fled to Kaua‘i after Kahekili’s victory and, then, after a voyage to China aboard a European vessel, settled on Hawai‘i under Kamehameha. In 1795 Ka‘iana turned against Kamehameha and joined Kalanikūpule, the son of Kahekili.47

Kula lands and kō‘ele lands were the only ahupua‘a cultivation not organised into family plots. Kula lands were upland tracts and forests that were unsuited to intensive cultivation and which operated as common lands. Individual households were allowed to gather forest products and to plant scattered crops to supplement their own crops. Kō‘ele lands were small tracts within each ahupua‘a that were worked by maka‘āinana as a whole, and whose entire harvest was solely for the use of ali‘i. A study of land records pertaining to Halawa Valley on Moloka‘i suggests that approximately one third of the valley’s fields were under the control of konohiki and ali‘i. Maka‘āinana worked on the kō‘ele fields one day in five.48

Early European visitors were struck by the poor physique of most maka‘āinana when compared to the ali‘i, who generally appeared robust and well built. James King’s comment that the commoners were ‘very tawny, thin and small, mean looking people’49 is typical. He attributed this appearance to diet, and a lifestyle involving much hard labour. King also noted that he saw more deformed people in Hawai‘i than in all the other lands that he had visited put together. Although evidence is limited, it seems more likely that the physique of the maka‘āinana was the result of the composition of their diet rather than excessive appropriation of produce by the ali‘i. As well as producing sustenance for maka‘āinana households, Hawaiian agricultural systems were required to sustain ritual obligations and maintain chiefly retinues in both peace and in their efforts against their rivals. Such efforts might involve the periodic destruction or depletion of certain localities by marauding armed forces. The Halawa Valley figures suggest, however, that chiefly appropriations of food and labour were not excessive. Rather the widespread nature of the symptoms suggests a predominantly carbohydrate-orientated diet deficient in body building protein sources. The main staples of the Hawaiian diet were taro, ‘uala (sweet potato) and, to a lesser extent, fish. Taro and ‘uala are useful carbohydrate staples, but need supplementing with foods rich in proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins, such as fish and coconut, to be truly nutritional. The ali‘i diet was supplemented with animal meat and the produce of specially constructed fishponds. These were largely reserved solely for ali‘i consumption or, in the case of pigs, for ritual offerings.50

The political and religious affairs of the mō‘ī and kahuna nui rarely intruded into the day-to-day life of maka‘āinana. The mō‘ī’s relative remoteness from the affairs of maka‘āinana, and the kapu that surrounded his person probably served to enhance the sacred aspect of his office by providing an aura of mystery. Religious ceremonies involving the mō‘ī and kahuna nui, such as those during the makahiki and ceremonies dedicated to Kū as war god were usually conducted in large temples. The largest temples were the luakini heiau, also known as heiau po‘okanaka, where human sacrifices might be offered to Kū as god of war. Some agricultural rituals for Lono may also have taken place in these temples. These temples, which could only be constructed and dedicated on the command of a mō‘ī,51 made impressive stages upon which to enact the drama of Hawaiian ceremonies. Prior to the present technological age, monumental architecture of this nature was probably the greatest enduring manifestation of power. As Peter Wilson notes:

The ancient monument brought the gods to earth and assembled together in one place the scattered powers of nature … As the fusion of permanence and perfection such architecture was power, not a symbol of it.52

Ceremonies in these large temples involved complex rituals that demanded precise actions and chants from the kahuna, and long periods of silence from all others, and occasionally human sacrifice. To the maka‘āinana assembled to bear silent witness to the proceedings, it must have been an intimidating experience.

The threat of physical violence also played a role in the maintenance of social norms. When King asked a female maka‘āinana why the people obeyed the kapu surrounding the expedition’s onshore observatory, she replied that they feared that the ‘Etooa’ (Akua) and ‘Teree-oboo’ (Kalani‘ōpu‘u, the local mō‘ī) would kill them if they broke the kapu.53 The removal of eyes, strangulation, and the shattering of heads and limbs with clubs were among the punishments meted out to kapu transgressors. Those not killed immediately were condemned to the status of kāuwa. Kāuwa were either kapu transgressors or defeated enemies from whose ranks human sacrifices were drawn. Ceremonies relating to the illness of an ali‘i nui, the consecration of temples and victory in war all might involve human sacrifice. Vanquished enemy rulers and other high-ranking enemy were sought for victory ceremonies. Otherwise, kāuwa in general sufficed. David Stannard notes that pigs and other animals were often substituted as sacrifices for humans.54

Retribution for breaking kapu was exacted upon the transgressor’s family as a whole. All became kāuwa, as did their descendants. Kāuwa were avoided by maka‘āinana, yet had a special relationship with ali‘i, whose sacred status their transgressions threatened. The ali‘i considered them as their gods and ancestral spirits and allowed them free access to their houses, a privilege denied to maka‘āinana. This apparently contradictory relationship may be explained by the fact that the sacrificial deaths of kāuwa helped to restore order to the universe and appease the gods.55

Punishment of kapu violations was not applied consistently to both ali‘i and maka‘āinana, nor was physical sanction always clearly in pursuit of breaches of kapu. Offences that would result in the death of maka‘āinana might only elicit a rebuke if the offender was an ali‘i. When a handsome young ali‘i was discovered to be the secret lover of Kamehameha’s favourite wife, Ka‘ahumanu, he was spared from execution because of his rank. Instead he was punished by the loss of all of his property. In January 1794, Vancouver learnt that a prominent ali‘i’s son had been mortally wounded in a spear contest with a man ‘of mean rank’.56 The unfortunate maka‘āinana was seized the next day and had his eyes pulled out. He was left in this state for two days before being executed by strangulation with a rope.

During the dedication of a luakini heiau, Malo mentions a ceremony known as ka-papa-ulua. In this ceremony a kahuna, accompanied by several others, went to fish for ulua (crevalle) to dedicate at the heiau. If they failed to catch any ulua, Malo relates how they then returned to land and went from one house to another, shouting out to the people within and telling them some lie or other and asking them to come outside. If anyone did come out, they killed him and, thrusting a hook in his mouth, carried him to the heiau. If there were many people in the house, they resisted and thus escaped.57

The unfortunate victim was then offered as a sacrifice at the heiau. Although vague, the reference to dwellings with many people escaping sacrifice may indicate that the victims were loners or outcasts. Certainly this reference appears on the surface to suggest a more random violence than other references that are usually justified in terms of kapu violations.

The degree to which the threat of violent death secured social order is uncertain. Ceremonies involving human sacrifice did not appear to have been particularly numerous, nor were executions outside of ceremonies. In any case the ability of maka‘āinana to disrupt the status quo was limited by their social and economic organisation. Any sense of class-consciousness was curtailed by the strong, localised affiliations that the economic self-sufficiency of most ahupua‘a and limited social interaction between ahupua‘a communities engendered. After commenting on the apparent frequency of battles between rival chiefs, King observed that ‘the different Villages even had dislikes to each other which might lead one to suppose their contest[s] were too frequent’.58 Much of this animosity may have been stifled by the control that ali‘i exercised over life in general, or channelled into controlled activities such as the boxing and dancing competitions that were held during the makahiki. The periodic mock battles between communities that were used for military training may have fulfilled a similar role.59 Given the prominence in Hawaiian traditions of revenge as a driving motive behind many antagonisms, and the belief in sorcery as a cause of misfortune and even death, it is probable that suspicion and mutual distrust often characterised relations between locations.

Ahupua‘a communities were not, however, totally discrete. Drought-affected communities received supplies from elsewhere, or were temporarily evacuated to other ahupua‘a or even to other districts. During drought, the inhabitants of Ni‘ihau took temporary refuge in nearby southern Kaua‘i, people from Ka‘ū on Hawai‘i moved as far away as the neighbouring districts of Puna or Kona; while communities in arid Kula on Maui were supplied with produce from Waikapu on the windward coast of west Maui.60 Cook’s visits to Kealakekua Bay seem to have attracted maka‘āinana to the bay from surrounding areas. Sahlins notes that maka‘āinana followed Cook’s circuit of the island of Hawai‘i in 1778–79 for at least part of the way, just as the annual procession of the Lono image gathered followers en route.61 In the 1790s, Archibald Menzies noted that Vancouver’s presence at Kealakekua resulted in maka‘āinana arriving from ‘several leagues’ north and south of the bay.62 Sources are silent on the impact that these journeys and military service outside home areas had on maka‘āinana, who otherwise lived most of their lives within a single ahupua‘a.

Distinctions within chiefly status softened the distinction between ali‘i and maka‘āinana, and served to modify any consciousness of exploitation as a class that maka‘āinana may have harboured. The lowest ranking ali‘i lived in daily contact with the maka‘āinana of their locality. Through the hale nauā ceremony, these ali‘i could become maka‘āinana. Local ali‘i ‘ai ahupua‘a and konohiki acted primarily as organisers of land-use rights, supervisors of supra-household activities and sources of security and justice rather than as agents of oppression. While maka‘āinana could not become members of the ali‘i, they could advance their position within their fixed status by rendering valuable service to their overlord, particularly in warfare. Maka‘āinana might be rewarded by being made part of an ali‘i’s personal retinue, or by the granting of land for their use by grateful mō‘ī. Hawaiians also distinguished maka‘āinana who stood out from others because of their prosperity and skill in cultivation.63 Such successful farmers must also have served to blur social boundaries.

The involvement of kaukau ali‘i in supervision down to the local level meant that leadership skills beyond the control of family affairs were rare among maka‘āinana. By the late 18th century, maka‘āinana seem to have been dependent on ali‘i leadership. When Kamehameha was away with his army in O‘ahu in 1796 and a rebellion occurred back on Hawai‘i, the rebellious ali‘i encountered little resistance. The captain of a visiting European vessel found the population of one of Kamehameha’s districts paralysed into inactivity when faced by their traditional enemies from the other side of the island. They seemed incapable of mobilisation against the approaching danger, ‘having no chief in whom they confided to lead them on’.64 Kamehameha was left with no choice but to return from O‘ahu and crush the rebellion himself.

This incident suggests maka‘āinana played a limited role in warfare. For most maka‘āinana, warfare involved periods of heightened tensions, punctuated by brief periods of danger as opposing forces moved through or into their ahupua‘a. The composition of fighting forces, however, still required the engagement and support of significant elements of the population beyond the upper echelons of the chiefly ranks. Heightening competition between chiefs in the late 18th century prompted the broadening of recruitment into core chiefly fighting contingents. This served to expand chiefs’ military capacity against each other, but also increased the importance of ensuring the loyalty of chiefly subjects from the ranks of both kaukau ali‘i and maka‘āinana. It is unclear from mo‘olelo the extent to which maka‘āinana with martial ability might be elevated to kaukau ali‘i status in this era, although the expansion of the ali‘i class in this late pre-unification era due to population expansion has already been hypothesised by a number of archaeologists. Enhanced coercive capacity against rivals came at the price of a diminished coercive gap between the ruler and those they already ruled over who, increasingly, formed the mainstay of armed contingents.

1 Hommon (2013), pp. 238–40.

2 On Hawaiian religion in general, see Valeri (1985a), pp. 4, 13, 31, 58–66. On divination, see Thomas G. Thrum (ed.), Fornander Collection of Hawaiian Antiquities and Folklore, vol. 6 (Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1919–20), pp. 70–86. On the Hawaiian pantheon, see Malo (1951), pp. 83–85; Mary W. Beckwith, (ed.), Kepelino’s Traditions of Hawaii (Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1937), p. 10; Kamakau (1961), pp. 200–03; Handy & Handy (1972), p. 14; Rev. John F. Pogue, The Mooolelo of Ancient Hawaii, Charles W. Kenn (trans.) (Honolulu: Topgallant, 1978 (1858)), pp. 45–48; Valerio Valeri, ‘The Transformation of a Transformation: A Structural Essay on an Aspect of Hawaiian History (1809–1819)’, Social Analysis, vol. 10, May 1982, 4; and Valeri (1985a), pp. 9, 187.

3 See Valeri (1985a), pp. 84–86, 111; and Caroline Ralston, ‘Sanctity and Power: Gender in Polynesian History – Introduction’, Journal of Pacific History, vol. 22 (3), 1987, 115.

4 On kapu in general, see Sahlins (1981), p. 52; and Levin (1968), p. 413. On the annual ritual cycle, see Malo (1951), pp. 31–33, 240; Beckwith (1937), pp. 80–84; Pogue (1978), pp. 40–45; and Valeri (1985a), pp. 194–98. On social kapu, see Caroline Ralston, ‘Hawaii 1778–1854: Some Aspects of Maka‘āinana Response to Rapid Cultural Change’, Journal of Pacific History, vol.19 (1), 1984, 23–24. On monthly kapu, see I‘ī (1959), pp. 33–46.

5 Malo (1951), pp. 142–52; Thrum, vol. 6 (1919–20), p. 40; Handy & Handy (1972), pp. 329–68; Valeri (1985a), pp. 200–33; Sahlins (1981), pp. 18–30; Marshall Sahlins, Islands of History (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1985), pp. 115–22; and Marshall Sahlins, ‘Captain Cook at Hawaii’, Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 98 (4), 1989, 387–93.

6 Levin (1968), p. 408; Malo (1951), p. 52; Pogue (1978), p. 60; Lilikalā Kame‘eleihiwa, ‘Land and the Promise of Capitalism: A Dilemma for the Hawaiian Chiefs of the 1848 Māhele’, PhD Thesis, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 1986, p. 24; and Sahlins (1985), pp. 20–21. See also Levin (1968), pp. 408–11; Malo (1951), pp. 54–57, 80; and Beckwith (1937), pp. 195–96.

7 Malo (1951), p. 192; Hommon (1976), pp. 27–48; Hommon (1987), p. 57; and Kirch (1984), p. 57.

8 Kahananui (1984), p. 211. On mō‘ī as intermediary between gods and humans, see Valeri (1985a), pp. 86–87; Levin (1968), pp. 407–08; and Kame‘eleihiwa (1986), pp. 34, 43. On mō‘ī as ‘aumakua, see Valeri (1985a), pp. 145–53; Sahlins (1981), p. 25; Marshall Sahlins, How ‘Natives’ Think: About Captain Cook, For Example (University of Chicago Press, 1995), p. 25; Malo (1951), pp. 104–06; and Beckwith (1937), p. 13. On the afterlife, see Thrum, vol. 5 (1918–19), p. 572; and Pogue (1978), pp. 56–58.

9 On priests in general, see Malo (1951), pp. 112–14; Sheldon Dibble, A History of the Sandwich Islands (Honolulu: Thos. G. Thrum, 1909), p. 83; King, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, p. 629; Valeri (1985a), p. 138; Levin (1968), pp. 410–11; and Sahlins (1995), pp. 121–22. On sorcery, see Malo (1951), pp. 96–97; I‘ī (1959), p. 8; Vancouver (1801) bk 3, p. 375; and Valeri (1982), p. 25.

10 Thrum, vol. 6 (1919–20), pp. 68–70, 74.

11 On priests, see Beckwith (1937), pp. 60–62, 140, 192; Malo (1951), p. 149; Hommon (1975), p. 149; and Levin (1968), p. 416. On kahuna as advisers, see Kamakau (1961), p. 173. On Koa, see Sahlins (1995), p. 49, citing James Cook & James King, A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean … on His Majesty’s Ships Resolution and Discovery, vol. 3 (Dublin: Chamberlaine et al., 1784), pp. 3, 69.

12 Valeri (1985a), pp. 140–42; and Malo (1951), p. 53.

13 Valeri (1985a), pp. 99–100; see also Levin (1968), pp. 403, 410, 414–15; Malo (1951), p. 211; and Jocelyn Linnekin, ‘Who Made the Feather Cloaks? A Problem in Hawaiian Gender Relations’, Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 97 (3), 1988, 276, 277.

14 Valeri (1985a), p. 149.

15 Valeri (1985a), p. 149; Malo (1951), pp. 54, 56–57; and I‘ī (1959), pp. 51–52, 120.

16 Kamakau (1961), pp. 203 (Kamehameha), and 142–43 (Kalanikūpule).

17 On the battle on Maui, see I‘ī (1959), p. 52; and Kamakau (1961), p. 88. On Moku‘ōhai, see Kamakau (1961), pp. 120–22.

18 Kamakau (1961), p. 88.

19 Vancouver (1801), bk 5, p. 18.

20 Vancouver (1801), bk 5, p. 18 ; Valeri (1985a), pp. 229–30; and Sahlins (1989), p. 389.

21 Vancouver (1801), bk 5, pp. 30–31.

22 Peebles & Kus (1977), pp. 425–26.

23 Sahlins (1989), pp. 397–98, citing Kēlou Kamakau in Thrum, vol. 6 (1919–20), p. 40; Sahlins (1995), p. 26.

24 Gananath Obeyesekere, The Apotheosis of Captain Cook: European Mythmaking in the Pacific (Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 81; and Sahlins’s reply (1995), pp. 36–37.

25 King, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, pp. 550–53, 559–60; Clerke, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, pp. 543–45. See also Sahlins (1985), pp. 124–25; Sahlins (1989), p. 400; Daws (1968a), p. 23; and Obeyesekere (1992), pp. 42, 92–94.

26 Sahlins (1985), pp. 123, 128–29; Sahlins (1995), pp. 60, 81, 132–34; refutes Obeyesekere (1992), pp. 58, 137–40, 187.

27 Fornander (1969), p. 278; Kamakau (1961), pp. 133–35.

28 Beckwith (1937), pp. 60–62, 140, 192; Malo (1951), pp. 149, 190; Hommon (1975), p. 149; and Levin (1968), pp. 416–17.

29 Fornander (1969), pp. 278–79. On Kahahana, see Kamakau (1961), pp. 134–35. On rebellions against mō‘ī who neglected ritual duties, see Malo (1951), p. 252.

30 Fornander (1969), pp. 239–40.

31 Sahlins (1995), pp. 133–34.

32 Valeri (1985a), p. 98.

33 Vancouver (1801), bk 5, pp. 22, 27 (Jan. 1794).

34 On maka‘āinana religious practices, see Malo (1951), pp. 82, 142; Levin (1968), p. 413; Sahlins (1981), p. 52; Hommon (1986), p. 58; and Kirch (1985), p. 7. On persistence of traditional beliefs after 1819, see K.R. Howe, Where the Waves Fall: A New South Sea Islands History From First Settlement to Colonial Rule (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1984), p. 168.

35 Sahlins (1989), p. 413.

36 Michelle Vovelle, Ideologies and Mentalities, Eamon O’Flaherty (trans.) (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990), pp. 118–25.

37 Malo (1951), pp. 188–90, 197; and Beckwith (1937), p. 132.

38 Samwell, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:2, pp. 1185.

39 Cook, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, p. 281.

40 King, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, p. 511 (25 Jan. 1779); Samwell, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:2, pp. 1166–67; and Sahlins (1981), p. 49.

41 Malo (1951), p. 82. On maka‘āinana in general, see King, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, p. 504; Clerke, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, p. 596; Samwell, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, p. 116; and Nathaniel Portlock, A Voyage Round the World: But More Particularly to the North-West Coast of America, Performed in 1785, 1786, 1787 and 1788, Bibliotheca Australiana no. 43 (New York: Da Capo Press, 1968), pp. 62–63. On maka‘āinana women in particular, see Sahlins (1981), pp. 46 ff.; and Samwell, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:2, p. 1161.

42 Malo (1951), p. 195; and Hommon (1975), pp. 160–63.

43 Handy & Handy (1972), pp. 18–19.

44 On ahupua‘a, see Kirch (1985), p. 2; Hommon (1975), pp. 15–17; Hommon (1976), pp. 55–57; and Handy & Handy (1972), pp. 48–49. On maka‘āinana social organisation, see Hommon (1975), pp. 75 ff.; Jocelyn Linnekin, ‘Statistical Analysis of the Great Māhele: Some Preliminary Findings’, Journal of Pacific History, vol. 22 (1), 1987, 22–23; Ralston (1984), pp. 21–40; Sahlins (1985), pp. 22–25; and Kirch & Sahlins (1992), pp. 196–203.

45 On land divisions, see Kirch (1985), p. 2. On konohiki, see Jocelyn Linnekin, ‘The Hui Lands of Keanae: Hawaiian Land Tenure and the Great Māhele’, Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol. 92 (2), 1983, 185 n. 3; Kame‘eleihiwa (1986), p. 40; and Levin (1968), p. 410.

46 Kirch & Sahlins (1992), pp. 32–33.

47 On land-use rights, see Valeri (1985a), p. 155; Linnekin (1983), pp. 169–72; Linnekin (1987), p. 21; Handy & Handy (1972), pp. 41, 46–47; Cordy (1972), pp. 396–97; and Malo (1951), p. 16. On the right to change lords, see Valerio Valeri, ‘The Conqueror Becomes King: A Political Analysis of the Legend of ‘Umi’, in Antony Hooper & Judith Huntsman (eds), The Transformation of Polynesian Culture, Polynesian Society Memoir no. 45 (Auckland: 1985b), pp. 86–87; and Sahlins (1981), p. 36.

48 Kirch (1984), pp. 175–76.

49 King, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, pp. 611, 629.

50 Kirch (1985); Cordy (1972), pp. 395–96; Handy & Handy (1972), p. 75; Malo (1951), pp. 42–43, 78; Samwell, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, p. 184; and George Dixon, A Voyage Round the World: But More Particularly to the North-West Coast of America, Performed in 1785, 1786, 1787 and 1788, Bibliotheca Australiana no. 37 (New York: Da Capo Press, 1968), p. 275; Handy & Handy (1972), pp. 75–101; Emile Massal & Jacques Barrau, Food Plants of the South Sea Islands, South Pacific Commission Technical Paper no. 42 (Noumea: 1956), pp. 7–9; J.W. Purseglove, Tropical Crops, vol. 1: Monocotyledons 1 (London: Longmans, 1972a), p. 64.

51 On heiau, see Malo (1951), p. 160; Kirch (1985), pp. 257–60; Cook, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, p. 269; and Samwell, in Beaglehole (1968), 3:2, pp. 1177–78. On important heiau in Hawai‘i, see Pogue (1978), p. 40. On ceremonies in heiau, see Sahlins (1981), p. 52.

52 Wilson (1988), p. 148.

53 King, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, p. 508.

54 Howe (1984), p. 166; and Stannard (1989), p. 61. On sacrifices, see Valeri (1985a), chpt 4. On kāuwa, see Valeri (1985a), p. 164; Malo (1951), pp. 68–70; and Beckwith (1937), p. 144.

55 Valeri (1985a), pp. 93, 374, n. 81; and Malo (1951), p. 68.

56 Vancouver (1801), bk 5, p. 20 (Jan. 1794). On adultery, see Hommon (1976), p. 167. On differences in punishment between chiefs and commoners, see Levin (1968), p. 414, citing I‘ī (1959), p. 23; and Kamakau (1961), p. 17.

57 Malo (1951), pp. 172–73.

58 King, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, p. 614.

59 Vancouver (1801), bk 3, pp. 252–58.

60 Handy & Handy (1972), pp. 274, 510–11.

61 Sahlins (1989), p. 413; and King, in Beaglehole (1967), 3:1, pp. 561, 618.

62 Menzies (1920), p. 67.

63 Malo (1951), p. 56; Thrum, vol. 6 (1919–20), p. 178; and Levin (1968), p. 437.

64 William Robert Broughton, A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean Performed in His Majesty’s Sloop Providence, and Her Tender, in the Years 1795, 1796, 1797, 1798 (New York: De Capo Press, 1967 (1804)), p. 69.

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