Māmalahoe Kānāwai - Law of the Splintered Paddle


E nā kānaka
E mālama ʻoukou i ke akua
A e mālama hoʻi
Ke kānaka nui a me kānaka iki
E hele ka ʻelemakule
Ka luahine, a me ke kama
A moe i ke ala
Aʻohe mea nana e hoʻopilikia
Hewa no, make


King Kamehameha I
O my people
Honor thy god
Respect alike, the rights of
All men great and humble
See to it that our aged,
Our women, and children
Lie down to sleep by the roadside
Without fear of harm
Disobey, and die


Source: Kamehameha the Great by Julie Stewart Williams - Paiʻea (hard-shell crab) who became Kamehameha I, was born at Kokoiki, Kohala, probably in November of 1758. Rain, thunder, lightning and a comet accompanied his birth. Halleys comet did appear in the same year. His mother, high chiefess Kakuʻiapoiwa, entrusted the child to Naeʻole and her cousin, Kahaʻopulani, shortly after birth. He was hidden in a cave at `Awini, from the warriors of Alapaʻinui, the ruling aliʻi of that island, who wanted to kill the child. The hanai parents returned Paiʻea, at age 5, to his natural mother and father, Chief Keouakupuapaikalaninui. They lived in the royal court at Kailua-Kona where Paieʻa was proclaimed a chief and named Kamehameha (the lonely one). In 1780, Kalaniʻopuʻu, the ruling aliʻi at that time, met with his chiefs in Waipio Valley, named his successor, awarded land grants and gave Kamehameha custody of the family war god, Kukaʻilimoku. In 1785, the young warrior, Kamehameha, sailed along the coast of Puna, a district belonging to another chief. Seeing fishermen on the beach at Papaʻi, he decided to raid them and while giving chase, caught his foot in a lava rock crevice. A defender struck him with a canoe paddle that splintered before Kamehameha made his escape, not knowing the raider was an aliʻi. This fisherman was brought to trial before King Kamehameha I, 12 years after the incident (1797). Instead of punishment, the fisherman was given lands and set free. The King realized his mistake and issued this edict.