Kikokikona Hawaiʻi
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The Story of Hawaiian Royalty

High Chief Kamanawa II Is Hanged for Murder

This history of modern Hawaii runs daily and Sunday exclusively in The Advertiser. This is the 60th of the series.

The Unfortunate Kamanawa II


The Princess Alapai, daughter of the Prince of Eternity, had one son by her consort, the Prince Kepookalani This was the unfortunate High-Chief Kamanawa II. Many stories have been circulated concerning this high born nobleman Most of these stories are the petty inventions of court gossip and the back fence chatter of palace servants and retainers.

The bare and bald truth of the facts is this; the High-Chief Kamanawa II was hanged because he loved his wife, and he killed her. It is useless to attempt to ignore or to placate this fact in the parentage of the last two monarchs of Hawaii.

* * *

IT IS AN unfortunate circumstance, but it is an occasion not peculiar to the royalty of Hawaii alone. Without apology for murder, we nevertheless remember similar happenings in the history of both European and Asiatic royalty and nobility. And was it not Oscar Wilde who once said that in one way or another, each man kills the thing he loves?

The High - Chief Kamanawa If married the Chiefess Kamokuiki who was reputed to be a great beauty. In any case he loved her with a boundless passion. In the first year of his marriage, a son was born who was called Caesar, the High-Chief Kapaakea. A few years later a daughter was born who was called the High-Chiefess Kekahili.

* * *

IT WAS THEN that Kamanawa II began to hear whisperings. As each day passed the whisperings became louder and louder. Kamanawa II learned that he was not the true father of his daughter. He found out that the girlʻs true father was the High-Chief Alapai II, his own paternal granduncle.

Alapai II was the son of the Prince Keawepoepoe and the Chiefess Kumaiku. He was a full brother of the High-Chief Keeaumoku (father of Queen Kaahumanu) and a half brother of the High-Chief Kameeiaoku (father of the Prince Kepookalani).

* * *

TORMENTED BY the consuming jealousy that is the inevitable result of marital infidelity, Kamanawa decided to confront his wife with the gossip that he had learned. He did, and he learned the truth. It was then that Kamanawa decided to kill his wife. He did, and he was hanged.

Who is to be blamed? No one! The tragic Kamokuiki was reared in the old traditions that viewed the sexual act as the highest expression of nature, a part of life that was an intrinsic part of nature, free and unfettered by moral sophistries and hypocricies.

* * *

ON THE OTHER hand Kamanawa II had been educated in the new morality of Calvinistic taboo that shunned the human body as evil and mocked natureʻs own purity and beauty.

Disaster was inevitable when the old and the new stood, side by side for never the train will meet in harmony. Murder was the result, and execution, the penalty.

(Copyright 1955, The Honolulu Advertiser.)

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