“Kekaha wai ‘ole na Kona” (“waterless Kekaha of the Kona district”) speaks of Kekaha, the portion of North Kona extending north of Kailua Bay from Honokōhau to ʻAnaehoʻomalu. It is described as “a dry, sun-baked land.”
Here is Kīholo, situated within the ahupuaʻa of Puʻuwaʻawaʻa. Kīholo (lit. the Fishhook) refers to the legend which describes how in 1859 the goddess Pele, hungry for the ‘awa and mullet, or ʻanae, which grew there in the great fishpond constructed by Kamehameha I, sent down a destructive lava flow, grasping at the fish she desired. (DLNR)
This place name may have been selected as a word descriptive of the coastline along that part of the island where the east-west coast meets the north-south coast and forms a bend similar to the angle between the point and the shank of a large fishhook. There is no confirmation for this theory, except for our knowledge that Hawaiian place names have a strong tendency to be descriptive. (Kelly)
While only a handful of houses are here today, in ancient times, there was a fishing village with many more that called Kīholo home.
Here, too, is Luahinewai, an anchialine pond/pool – (these are shoreline pools without surface connection to the sea, having waters of varying salinity and showing tidal rhythms (Brock.)) Luahinewai (old lady’s water) is said to refer to a water-formed supernatural moʻo (lizard) that lived there.
Of Luahinewai, JWHI Kihe writes (in Ka Hoku o Hawaiʻi; Maly:) “There is a large pond near Kīholo and Laemanō; it is a famous bathing place of the chiefs of ancient times. The water there is cold, and causes the skin to tingle. Because it is so cold, it is like ice water.”
“It is said that there is an opening in this pond by which an old woman (luahine) enters. And there below the pond, are said to be laid out the bones of the chiefs of ancient times.”
“This pond is about five fathoms deep at its deepest point near the center of the pond. That too, is where the water is coldest. And if you should dive in and pass this area, you will find the cold water and not be able to stay there long. You will quickly retreat and wrap yourself up with a cloth.”
“The one who dives into it at its deepest point, will also see that his/her skin will turn red like the red coral. There are also pebbles at the bottoms of this pond, and it is a good thing, as you will not strike your foot upon any rocks.”
“The chiefs and fearless warriors of ancient times have passed from this side of the dark waters of death, and the bathing pool of Luahine Wai remains with its beauty, playing in the ocean mist and the gentle blowing of the breezes. This generation too, shall pass, and the next generation that follows, but Luahinewai shall remain as was found in the beginning.”
Luahinewai was a famous rest stop during canoe voyages along the coast. (Ulukau) “… the ship sailed, pausing at Luahinewai to bathe and visit with that strange water in the lava. After an enjoyable stop at the water with the pretty pebbles, they again sailed.” (ʻĪʻi)
In 1790, Kamehameha I and his chiefs were living at Kawaihae. Following advice of a priest from Kaua‘i, Kamehameha undertook the reconstruction of the heiau Pu‘u Koholā, to dedicate it as a house for his god Kūkaʻilimoku. During this time, “thousands of people were encamped on the neighboring hillsides.”
According to Kamakau, Kamehameha “… summoned his counselors and younger brothers, chiefs of the family and chiefs of the guard, all the chiefs, lesser chiefs, and commoners of the whole district. Not one was allowed to be absent except for the women, because it was tabu to offer a woman upon the altar; a man alone could furnish such a sacrifice.”
“The building of the heiau of Pu‘u Koholā was, as in ancient times, directed by an expert—not in oratory, genealogy, or the prophetic art, but by a member of the class called hulihonua who knew the configuration of the earth (called kuhikuhi pu‘uone.)”
“Their knowledge was like that of the navigator who knows the latitude and longitude of each land, where the rocks are, the deep places, and the shallow, where it is cold and where warm, and can tell without mistake the degrees, east or west, north or south. Such knowledge, taught on Kauai, one could apply anywhere in the world; so Kapoukahi had instructed Ha‘alo‘u (a chiefess relative of Kamehameha’s) to the letter.”
“As soon as the heiau was completed, just before it was declared free, Kamehameha’s two counselors, Keaweaheulu and Kamanawa (who resided at Kīholo,) were sent to fetch Keōua, ruling chief of the eastern end of the island of Hawaiʻi”
“Keōua was living in Kaʻū mauka in Kahuku with his chiefs and warriors of his guard. Keaweaheulu and his companion landed at Ka‘iliki‘i and began the ascent to Kahehawahawa … Close to the extreme edge of the tabu enclosure of Keōua’s place the two … messengers rolled along in the dirt until they came to the place where Keōua was sitting, when they grasped his feet and wept.”
“We have come to fetch you, the son of our lord’s older brother, and to take you with us to Kona to meet your younger cousin, and you two to be our chiefs and we to be your uncles. So then let war cease between you.”
Keōua agreed to accompany his uncles. Some of the party traveled by foot overland, while Keōua and some of his trusted counselors and guards traveled with the messengers by canoe.
“They left Kailua and went as far as Luahinewai at Kekaha, where they landed the canoes. Keōua went to bathe, and after bathing he cut off the end of his penis (ʻomuʻo), an act which believers in sorcery call “the death of Uli,” and which was a certain sign that he knew he was about to die.
(“The death of Uli” refers to death caused by the vengeance of the sorcerer, since Uli is the goddess worshipped by Sorcerers. The part cut off is used for the purpose of sorcery so that those who do a man to death may themselves be discovered and punished.) (DLNR)
They kept on their course until near Mailekini, when Keʻeaumoku and some others carrying spears, muskets, and other weapons broke through the formation of the fleet, surrounding the canoes of Keōua, separating them from those of Keaweaheulu and his followers and calling to Kamanawa to paddle ahead.
Keōua rose and called to Kamehameha, “Here I am!” Kamehameha called back, “Stand up and come forward that we may greet each other.”
Keōua rose again, intending to spring ashore, when Keʻeaumoku thrust a spear at him, which Keōua dodged, snatched, and thrust back at Keʻeaumoku, who snatched it away. Keōua and all those who were with him on the canoe were killed… By the death of Keōua, Kuʻahuʻula and his placing in the heiau of Pu‘u Kohola the whole island of Hawaii became Kamehameha’s.”