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On November 27, 1823, L’Aigle, an English whaling ship, took Kamehameha II (Liholiho), Kamāmalu and their entourage to England to gain firsthand experience in European ways. The king and his chiefs agreed that Liholiho needed a competent interpreter to travel with him and Frenchman John Rives went as interpreter.

Liholiho’s chosen party were Governor Boki and his wife, Liliha, Kapihe, Chief Kekuanaoa, steward Manuia, Naukana (Noukana), Kauluhaimalama, servant Na‘aiweuweu, and James Kanehoa Young. In London, Liholiho and Kamāmalu became ill; Kamāmalu (aged 22) died on July 8, 1824, Kamehameha II (age 27) died six days later, on July 14, 1824. The British Government dispatched HMS Blonde to return them back to Honolulu; they arrived on May 6, 1825.

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His name (literally, the standing projections) is said to refer to ships’ masts seen in the harbor when Kekūanāoʻa was born. “As a young man he was a favorite and attendant of the declining years of Kamehameha I. With Liholiho he was a punahele, or intimate attendant and friend”. He married Pauahi, formerly a wife of Liholiho. They had a daughter, Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani. (Keʻelikōlani later passed her great land holdings to Bernice Pauahi Bishop; it was the land base that formed Kamehameha Schools / Bishop Estate.)

In 1827, Kīnaʻu, daughter of Kamehameha, became Kekūanāoʻa’s wife. They both publicly professed the Christian faith in 1830. Kīnaʻu and Kekūanāoʻa had five children: Prince David Kamehameha (who died as a child;) Prince Moses Kekūāiwa (who died in 1848;) Prince Lot Kapuāiwa (later Kamehameha V;) Prince Alexander Liholiho (later Kamehameha IV) and Princess Victoria Kamāmalu. As the last Kuhina Nui, Kekūanāoʻa essentially presided over the demise of the office. Kekūanāoʻa died November 24, 1868.

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David Kamehameha

Mataio Kekūanāoʻa (1793–1868) and Kīnaʻu (1805-1839) each served as Kuhina Nui, a position generally described as “Prime Minister,” “Premier” and “Regent.”  They were each born

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