Kīnaʻu was the daughter of Kamehameha and Kalākua Kaheiheimālie (Hoapili Wahine.) She was a niece of Kaʻahumanu. Kīnaʻu was born probably in 1805 at Waikiki. She was first married to her half-brother Liholiho who became King Kamehameha II with the death of their father 1819. Her second husband was Kauai Governor Kāhalaiʻa Luanuʻu, a grandson of Kamehameha I. Her third husband was O‘ahu Governor Mataio Kekūanāoʻa.
Kīna’u was the highest in rank of any of the women chiefs of her day. With Kekūanāoʻa she had several children, including Lot (afterwards Kamehameha V,) Alexander Liholiho (afterwards Kamehameha IV) and Victoria. Kīnaʻu “was sedate, courteous, and reliable, a little haughty in her deportment toward strangers, but a loving, exemplary wife, a tender mother, and a warmhearted, unwavering friend.” Kīnaʻu died on April 4, 1839.