Kamehameha the Great's Spiritual Conquest

Sunday, January 9, 2011: 8:50 AM
Room 303 (Hynes Convention Center)
Genai Keliʻikuli , University of Hawaiʻi-Leeward Community College, Pearl City, HI
According to Hawaiian oral histories Pai‘ea Kamehameha was destined to be a great leader, even from before his birth.  Hō‘ailona (omens) abound in the mythology of his life and the lesson-laden genealogies of Hawai‘i are at the heart of his success in uniting the islands under one rule.  Kamehameha the Great built his legacy upon the shoulders of brilliant mentors, favored kahuna (master), and countless akua (deities).  This presentation will explore the spiritual goals of Kamehameha’s conquest as an integral part of his political success.  It will show the inextricable relationship between religion and politics in Hawaiian governance, highlight an indigenous framework for a checks-and-balances system incorporating ideas and materials from the “outside”, and explore the complexities of maintaining balance and the sacred during Kamehameha’s reign.