Captain George Vancouver gave a few cattle to Kamehameha I in 1793; Vancouver strongly encouraged Kamehameha to place a kapu on them to allow the herd to grow.
In the decades that followed, cattle flourished and turned into a dangerous nuisance. By 1846, 25,000 wild cattle roamed at will and an additional 10,000 semi‐domesticated cattle lived alongside humans.
John Adams Kuakini was an important adviser to Kamehameha I in the early stages of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i.
When the Kingdom’s central government moved to Lāhaina in 1820, Kuakini’s influence expanded on Hawaiʻi Island, with his appointment as the Royal Governor of Hawaiʻi Island, serving from 1820 until his death in 1844.
During his tenure, Kuakini built many of the historical sites that dominate Kailua today. The Great Wall of Kuakini, probably a major enhancement of an earlier wall, was one of these.
The Great Wall of Kuakini extends in a north-south direction for approximately 6 miles from Kailua to near Keauhou, and is generally 4 to 6-feet high and 4-feet wide.
Built between 1830 and 1840, the Great Wall of Kuakini separated the coastal lands from Kailua to Keauhou from the inland pasture lands.
The mortar-less lava-rock wall has had varying opinions regarding the purpose of its construction.
Speculation has ranged from military/defense to the confinement of grazing animals; however, most seem to agree it served as a cattle wall, keeping the troublesome cattle from wandering through the fields and houses of Kailua.
It is likely that the function of the wall changed over time, as the economic importance of cattle grew and the kinds and density of land use and settlement changed.
Kuakini was responsible for other changes and buildings in the Kona District during this era.
He gave land to Asa Thurston to build Moku‘aikaua Church.
He built Huliheʻe Palace in the American style out of native lava, coral lime mortar, koa and ‘ōhi‘a timbers. Completed in 1838, he used the palace to entertain visiting Americans and Europeans with great feasts.
Hulihe‘e Palace is now a museum run the Daughters of Hawaiʻi, including some of his artifacts.
He made official visits to all ships that arrived on the island, offering them tours of sites, such as the Kīlauea volcano.
He was born about 1789 with the name Kaluaikonahale. With the introduction of Christianity, Hawaiians were encouraged to take British or American names.
He chose the name John Adams after John Quincy Adams, the US president in office at the time. He adopted the name, as well as other customs of the US and Europe.
Kuakini was the youngest of four important siblings: sisters Queen Kaʻahumanu, Kamehameha’s favorite wife who later became the powerful Kuhina nui, Kalākua Kaheiheimālie and Namahana-o-Piʻia (also queens of Kamehameha) and brother George Cox Kahekili Keʻeaumoku.
He married Analeʻa (Ane or Annie) Keohokālole; they had no children. (She later married Caesar Kapaʻakea. That union produced several children (including the future King Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani.)
A highway is named “Kuakini Highway,” which runs from the Hawaii Belt Road through the town of Kailua-Kona, to the Old Kona Airport Recreation Area.
He is also the namesake of Kuakini Street in Honolulu, which is in turn the namesake of the Kuakini Medical Center on it.