Poʻolua is literally broken down as Poʻo (head) and lua (two) and refers to a child who has two fathers (the child is sired by other than the husband, but he is accepted by both the husband and the sire.)
A child said to be poʻolua, “that is, a child of two fathers, was considered a great honor by chiefs of that period.” (Luomala)
King Kekaulike (1700-1736) was the 23rd King (Mo‘i) of Maui and founder of Maui’s last ruling dynasty. He was descended from Pi‘ilani (‘ascent to heaven’) the Great.
Maui-Loa was the first independent sovereign of Maui. Twenty generations of independent monarchs ruled in Maui from the Prince Maui-Loa until the accession of Pi‘ilani the Great who is perhaps the most renowned monarch of the island Kingdom of Maui.
The kings of Maui consolidated their strength, built up their armies and created a nation strong enough to threaten at times even the might of the powerful kings of Hawai‘i.
King Kekaulike and his children built an empire that enjoyed levels of power and prestige greater than any other royal family up until that point.
In a footnote on page 261 of Fornander’s Account of the Polynesian Race Vol. II, he states:
“Though every Hawaiian genealogy in my possession invariably states that Kame‘eiamoku and Kamanawa were the twin children of Keawepoepoe and his wife Kanoena, yet all the older legends which refer to these two chiefs call them the sons of Kekaulike. “Na keiki kapu a Kekaulike.”
In addition, Kamakau referenced, “Ka-meʻe-ia-moku and Kamanawa, the twins of the burning tabu of Ke-kau-like.”
It was the custom in Hawai‘i during the 18th and 19th centuries to have young chiefs be hānai (adopted) by and grow up under the protection of an important relative, sometimes even one who lived on another island.
Kamanawa and Kame‘eiamoku were sent to live with their uncle during their childhood years. This uncle was Kalani‘ōpu‘u, the high chief of the Island of Hawai‘i in 1779, when Captain Cook arrived at Kealakekua Bay in Kona, Hawai‘i.
Kamehameha was also raised in the court of Kalani‘ōpu‘u, along with two of the sons of Kalani‘ōpu‘u, Kīwala‘ō and Keōua. (Kelly)
At the time of ‘contact’ (Captain Cook’s arrival (1778,)) the Hawaiian Islands were divided into four kingdoms: (1) the island of Hawaiʻi under the rule of Kalaniʻōpuʻu, who also had possession of the Hāna district of east Maui; (2) Maui (except the Hāna district,) Molokai, Lānaʻi and Kahoʻolawe, ruled by Kahekili; (3) Oʻahu, under the rule of Kahahana; and (4) Kauai and Niʻihau, Kamakahelei was ruler.
“At that time Kahekili was plotting for the downfall of Kahahana and the seizure of Oʻahu and Molokai, and the queen of Kauai was disposed to assist him in these enterprises. The occupation of the Hana district of Maui by the kings of Hawaiʻi had been the cause of many stubborn conflicts between the chivalry of the two islands …”
“… and when Captain Cook first landed on Hawaiʻi he found the king of that island absent on another warlike expedition to Maui, intent upon avenging his defeat of two years before, when his famous brigade of eight hundred nobles was hewn in pieces.” (Kalākaua)
Then, in 1782, Kamehameha started his conquest to rule the Islands. After a struggle of more than ten years, in 1791, Kamehameha succeeded in securing the supreme authority over the island of Hawaiʻi.
After conquering that Island, he moved on to defeat the armies in Maui Nui and concluded his wars on Oʻahu at the Battle of Nuʻuanu in 1795. After failed attempts at conquering Kauai, he negotiated peace with Kaumualiʻi and the Island chain was under his control (1810.)
In getting there, Kamehameha appointed Keʻeaumoku, Keaweaheulu, Kameʻeiamoku and Kamanawa (the four Kona Uncles) to be his secret advisors (hoa kuka malu) and counselors (hoaʻahaʻolelo) in ruling the island. They alone were consulted about what would be for the good or the ill of the country. (Kamakau)
Kahekili’s rule stretched for almost thirty years. He became known for his extreme measures whether it was making sure his people were obeying the kapu and the gods, or by destroying his enemies.
He ruled on Maui before he fell ill and returned to Waikīkī, until his death in 1793 at the age of eighty-seven. As with all ali‘i, Kahekili’s bones were carried away and hidden – thought to be in North Kohala.
After Kahekili died, Fornander had an interesting perspective related to the relationships of the parties. Fornander notes, “Kameʻeiamoku and his twin-brother Kamanawa secretly took Kahekili’s body away and hid it in one of the caves at Kaloko in North Kona, Hawaii.”
“Kameʻeiamoku and Kamanawa were the children of Kekaulike of Maui, and thus half-brothers of Kahekili.” The twins (Kameʻeiamoku and Kamanawa) were Chiefs from the Kohala and North Kona districts and were uncles of Kamehameha and his counselors in the wars to unite the islands.
“If this fact is truly accredited to those two Hawaiian chieftains, and, although happening in comparatively modern times, I have never heard or seen it disputed, it will, in consideration of the ancient customs, go far to justify the current opinion of that time, shared alike by chiefs and commoners, that Kame‘eiamoku and Kamanawa were the children of Kekaulike of Maui, and thus half-brothers of Kahekili.”
“This relationship receives further confirmation from the native legends when they relate that, on learning the birth of Kamehameha, Kahekili sent these two sons of his father Kekaulike to Hawaiʻi to be and act as ‘Kahus’ to Kamehameha.” (Fornander)
“In no other way can the otherwise singular fact be explained that two of Kamehameha’s oldest and most prominent and trusted councilor chiefs, during a time of what may be called suspended hostilities …”
“… should have repaired from Hawaii to Oahu for the purpose of securing and safely hiding (Huna-kele) the bones of Kamehameha’s political rival; nor the otherwise equally inexplicable fact that they should have been permitted by Kalanikūpule, Kahekili’s son and successor, to carry their design into effect.” (Fornander)
“Under the social system of the old regime, and of time-hallowed custom, Kamehameha would have had no power to prevent those chiefs from executing their pious errand, and Kalanikūpule would have had no motive to mistrust their honesty when resigning to them his father’s remains …”
“… and a breach of trust on their part would have consigned them to an infamy of which Hawaiian history had no precedent, and so deep, that the Hawaiian language would not have had a word detestable enough wherewith to express it.” (Fornander)
“He was the reputed and accepted son of Keōua, the half-brother of Kalaniʻōpuʻu, although it was believed by many that his real father was Kahekili, mōʻi of Maui. But, however this may have been, he was of royal blood, and was destined to become not only the king of Hawaiʻi, but the conqueror and sovereign of the group. This chief was Kamehameha.” (Kalākaua)
Kamehameha, through the assistance of the Kona “Uncles” (Keʻeaumoku, Keaweaheulu, Kameʻeiamoku & Kamanawa (the latter two ended up on Hawai‘i’s coat of arms;)) succeeded, after a struggle of more than ten years, in securing to himself the supreme authority over that island (and later, the entire Hawaiian Islands chain.)
The twins were later neighbors.
Kamanawa is reported to have been living at Kiholo at the time of the death of Kalani‘ōpu‘u in 1782, and Kame‘eiamoku at Ka‘upulehu (originally Ka‘ulu-pulehu, the roasted breadfruit), the adjacent ahupua‘a to the south of Pu‘uwa‘awa‘a. (Kelly)
The lives of the twin chiefs of Kekaha, Kamanawa of Kiholo, and Kame‘eiamoku of Ka‘upulehu, are closely bound with the history of the Hawaiian Islands during the period of the rise of Kamehameha I, as the ali‘i nui (high chief) of the Islands.
Presumably, whoever had control over the leeward ports of the Island of Hawai‘i would play an important part in the history of the Islands during this early historical period.
The Kona-Kohala coast had more favorable harbors for the visits of western-sailing ships than the windward (Hilo-Puna-Ka‘u) coast. Because of this, the Kona-Kohala chiefs had greater access to trade items from the foreign ships than the windward chiefs.
As it was, that role fell to Kamehameha, Kamanawa, Kame‘eiamoku, Ke‘eaumoku, and a few others. (Kelly)
FYI: Kamehameha has also been referred to as poʻolua (shared, two-headed) son of Keōua and Kahekili by his mother Kekuʻiapoiwa. (VanDyke)
Kameʻeiamoku (on his deathbed) said to Kamehameha, “I have something to tell you: Kahekili was your father, you were not Keōua’s son. Here are the tokens that you are the son of Kahekili.” (Kamakau)
Kamehameha responded, “Strange that you should live all this time and only when dying tell me that I am Kahekili’s son! Had you told me this before, my brothers need not have died; they could have ruled Maui while I ruled Hawaii.” (Kamakau)
Kameʻeiamoku answered, “That is not a good thought; had they lived there would have been constant warfare between you, but with you alone as ruler the country is at peace.” (Kamakau)