Kalākua (also Kaheiheimālie) was daughter of Keʻeaumoku, a chief from Hawaiʻi Island and Namahana, from the royal family on Maui.
Kalākua’s siblings included Queen Kaʻahumanu, Hawaiʻi Island Governor John Adams Kuakini, Maui Governor George Cox Kahekili Keʻeaumoku II and Lydia Nāmāhāna Piʻia. She was described as physically being ‘tall and gigantic,’ like her siblings. (Bingham)
“(Kalākua) was never a woman to indulge in flirtations, and her name was never coupled with gossip. She may have had her longings, but she remained true to her husband; and her children were never rumored to have been born of a double paternity like so many of the chiefs.”
“Double paternity was considered an honor because it gave a double or triple line of chiefly descent, thick and intermingled, and formed an honorable ancestry doubly blessed in such riches and knowledge as chiefs desire.”
“Not so (Kalākua,) who considered herself sufficiently honored with the root already established. Kamehameha was her uncle, and both he and Keʻeaumoku were directly descended from Haʻae.” (Kamakau)
She first married Kalaʻimamahu, the brother of Kamehameha I. They had a daughter, Kekāuluohi; Kekāuluohi became Kamehameha’s youngest wife.
Liholiho (Kamehameha II) later took her as one of his wives and around 1821 Kamehameha II gave Kekāuluohi to his friend Charles Kanaʻina. By Kanaʻina, Kekāuluohi had a son William Charles Lunalilo (the first grandson of Kalākua to become king.)
Kekāuluohi succeeded her half-sister Kīnaʻu as Kuhina Nui. Initially, she was considered something of a “place-holder” for Kīnaʻu’s infant daughter Victoria Kamāmalu, who would later assume the office. (Archives)
Kalākua was also married to Kamehameha I; she had four children. Their two sons died as infants; the oldest daughter, Kamāmalu, became wife of Liholiho (Kamehameha II,) and the youngest daughter, Kīnaʻu, later became Kuhina Nui.
Kīnaʻu later married Mataio Kekūanāoʻa; they had several children, including Alexander Liholiho (the second grandson of Kalākua to become king, known as Kamehameha IV), Lot Kapuāiwa (the third grandson of Kalākua to become king, as Kamehameha V,) and Victoria. (Liliʻuokalani) That made Kalākua grandmother of three future Kings.
“The death of Kamehameha made the first separation from the man she had lived with for twenty years. There was no woman of his household whom Kamehameha loved so much as (Kalākua.)
“Kamehameha is never known to have deserted (Kalākua,) but it has often been said that she did not love him so much as her first husband Kalaʻimamahu from whom Kamehameha took her away.” (Kamakau)
“In September, 1823, she heard in Hawaii of Keōpūolani’s death and sailed at once for Lāhainā to attend the burial ceremonies. The chiefs had all assembled at Lāhainā, the body of the chiefess had been concealed, and (Hoapili) was in mourning.”
“After the days of mourning were ended (Kalākua) became the wife of (Hoapili) (October 19, 1823,) they became converted, were married under Christian vows, and took the names of Hoapili-kāne and Mary Hoapili-wahine [the Hawaiian form of Mr. and Mrs.]”
“At this time she had not thought much about religion. The chiefs took to drinking and sensual indulgence after the death of the chiefess [Keōpūolani], but (Kalākua) listened to the word of God as taught by the missionaries although in her heart she still enjoyed life and fun.”
“Hoapili had accepted the word of God because of Keōpūolani. (Kalākua) turned to Christianity first, and Kaʻahumanu followed.” (Kamakau)