Nahi`ena`ena - Kanikau

He inoa no ka lani
No Nahi`ena`ena
A ka luna o wahine
Ho`i ka ena a ka makani
Noho ka la`i i ka malino
Makani ua ha ao
Ko ke au i hala ea
Punawai o Mana
Wai ola no ke kupa
A ka ilio nana
Hae nanahu i ke kai
Ehu kai nana ka pua
Ka pua o ka iliau
Ka ohai o mapepa
Ka moena we`uwe`u
I ulana ia e ke a`e
Ka naku loloa
Hea mai o Kawelohea
Nawai la e ke kapu
No Nai`ena`ena
Ena na pua i ka wai
Wai au o Holei


Princess Nahi`ena`ena

Prince Kauikeaouli


A eulogy for the princess
Chief among women
She soothes the cold wind with her flame
A peace that is mirrored in calm
A wind that sheds rain
A tide that flowed long ago
The water spring of Mana
Life spring for the people
A fount where the lapping dog
Barks at the incoming wave
Drifting spray on the bloom
Of the sand sprawling iliau
And the scarlet flower of ohai
On the wind woven mat of wild grass
Long naku, a springy mattress
The spouting horn
Kawelohea, asks
Who of right has the tabu
The princess Nahi`ena`ena
The flowers glow in the pool
The bathing pool of Holei


Source: Unwritten Literature of Hawaii by Emerson, Library of Congress Catalog Card #65-12971 - This is a kanikau or dirge for Princess Nahi`ena`ena. Punawai o Mana is a fresh water spring at Honuapo, Ka`u. Ohai is a flowering shrub brought from Kahiki by Namakaokahai; Kawelohea was a spouting horn at Honapo that ceased action after the volcanic eruption of 1868. Nahi`ena`ena and Kauikeaouli were the children of Kamehameha I and his sacred (highest spiritual rank) wife, Keopuolani. Princess Nahi`ena`ena was born about 1815, at Keauhou. She was not hanai at birth, contrary to Hawaiian custom, and was raised by her natural mother. Her name means the raging or glowing fires. From childhood she was expected to marry her brother, Kaiukeaouli. This divine marriage and the issue from it "would mingle sacred blood and establish the eternal kingdom." The second company of missionaries arrived in 1823 and changed her destiny and that of Hawaii. Sept, 1823, Queen mother, Keopuolani, was baptized on her deathbed. Her last wish was her children be raised christian. The welfare and education of the princess, age 8, was committed to Rev. William Richardson and Rev. Charles Stewart, making Nahi`ena`ena the center of contradiction and confusion. Marriage of the two sacred children was discussed by the council of high chiefs in September, 1824, but the horrified missionaries forbade such a union although from time immemorial it was a Hawaiian tradition. When Kauikeaouli ascended the throne as Kamehameha III, his sister was banished to Maui. As the king and his sister matured, they planned to marry, a union the chiefs hoped for, in accordance with their culture. Her guardians tried to prevent this incestuous relationship and excommunicated the princess. A victim of her mother's death wish, missionary training, ancient Hawaiian tradition and her passionate, erotic love for her brother, she asked Kauikeouli to release her from her duty. In anguish and grief, the king attempted suicide June of 1934, after Nahi`ena`ina refused to join him at Pu`uloa. Finally in July, 1934, they were married in the ancient way at the home of High Chief Paki. In the presence of their guardians Hoapili and his wife, they consumated their marriage. The Hawaiian people were overjoyed but their marriage was not recognized by the Christian community. The only suitable choice of high rank to marry the king, they shared a common childhood, tradition, forced separations, love affairs and censure from the western attitude on incest, in direct conflict with the Hawaiian tradition of sacred marriage. Whatever she did was a sin, trespass or violation of one of the two worlds in which she lived; she was ensnared. Tormented, the princess became ill. Her son, born Sept 17, 1836, lived only a few hours. By December, she was dead taking with her the hope and perpetuation of the Hawaiian nation, her tragic life parelleling the story of her people. Kamehameha III eventually married, but always grieved for his only love, the Princess Nahi`ena`ena, his sister.