Kamakahonu (lit. turtle eye) was possibly established as early as the sixteenth century by ʻUmi-a-Līloa. It was during the early nineteenth century that Keawe a Mahi, a kahu of Keaweaheulu presided over Kamakahonu, and upon the death of Keawe a Mahi, Kamakahonu became the residence of Kamehameha I.
During Kamehameha’s tenure at Kamakahonu he first moved into the former residence of Keawe a Mahi. He then built another house on the seaward side of that residence, that was referred to as hale nana mahina ‘ai. The “King erected three houses thatched with dried ti leaves,” a sleeping house (hale moe) and separate men’s (hale mua) and women’s (hale ‘āina) eating houses. “After these houses were built, another heiau house, called Ahuʻena, was restored.”