Kamapuaʻa had several life forms, including that of a human being and that of a hog. His home was at Kaliuwaʻa, in Kaluanui, Koʻolauloa. ʻOlopana was the king of Oʻahu at this time. (Fornander)
The Hawaiian deity Kamapuaʻa, is a part of the Lono god-force, and possessed many body forms (kinolau), representing both human and various facets of nature. He was born in pig-form to Hina (mother) and Kahiki‘ula (father) at Kaluanui in the Koʻolauloa District of O‘ahu. (Maly)
ʻOlopana, an Oʻahu Chief (and younger brother of Kahikiʻula,) was an adversary of Kamapuaʻa. It was Kamapuaʻa’s custom to go and steal the chickens from ʻOlopana’s lands at Kapaka, at Punaluu, and at Kahana
In one night all the chickens in these different places would be taken. On one of these expeditions, just before daylight while on his way home he met Kawauhelemoa, a supernatural being who had the form of a chicken, who enticed him on until he was discovered by the guards of Olopana.
When ʻOlopana heard that it was Kamapuaʻa that was robbing the hen roosts he sent word to all the people from Kahana to Kaluanui to go after Kamapuaʻa and bring him on their backs to his presence. The people who were sent on this mission numbered about eight hundred.
When they came to Kamapuaʻa, they took him and bound him with ropes, then placed him on a pole and carried him. At Kaluanui, Kamapuaʻa heard about ʻOlopana’s preparations for battle, so he made plans to escape before ʻOlopana and his men arrived.
Kaliuwaʻa is a very high cliff, impossible to climb up or down since there is no trail. The cliff is about two thirds of a mile high. Against this cliff Kamapuaʻa leaned forward and stretched his body to the top to provide a way for his parents, his older brothers, his grandmother, and their servants to escape with all their possessions.
When ʻOlopana and his men arrived at Kaluanui, Kamapuaʻa wasn’t there. ʻOlopana then searched for him , finally ending up in Waiʻanae where ʻOlopana and his men settled.
However, he still couldn’t capture Kamapuaʻa because he didn’t have a kahuna (priest) to direct his efforts. Lonoawohi (aka Lonoawohi) was ʻOlopana’s kahuna when ʻOlopana became king of O’ahu; however, Lonoawohi had been removed from office, bound with ropes, imprisoned, and sentenced to death for a transgression against the chief.
To replace Lonoawohi, ʻOlopana summoned the kahuna Malae from Kauai. Malae told ʻOlopana, to overcome his opponent, he should all the pigs, ʻawa, chickens, fish, men, and bananas you can; take these and lay them before Kamapuaʻa as offerings. These offerings will enfeeble him, and his strength will be gone.”
ʻOlopana carried out Malae’s instructions and laid the offerings before Kamapuaʻa – Kamapuaʻa became weak and feeble. The men then seized Kamapuaʻa and dragged him to Pahoa in Waiʻanae, where Lonoawohi was bound and fastened to a post. ʻOlopana intended to sacrifice him with Kamapuaʻa.
Lonoawohi knew that if Kamapuaʻa was killed, he, too, would be killed, so he directed his sons to go and speak to the men: “You two, go to the men and tell them, ‘E! The king said not to cut the pig open. Take him as he is to the sacrificial altar. It will take several days to reach ‘ʻOlopana’s place; if you kill the pig now, he will surely decay, and the king’s sacrifice will be spoiled.”
“The pig must not be dragged on the ground, either, for his skin will get bruised and damaged. The pig must be carried on poles. When you get tired, put the hog on the ground and rest.”
The men carefully carried Kamapuaʻa to ʻOlopana’s place and put him in the heiau.
That night Lonoawohi slept at the post to which he was tied, his sons with him, while the guards kept watch around the house; and Kamapuaʻa slept in the heiau, also under guard.
Late that night Lonoawohi prayed, and at the close of his prayer, the ropes which held him fell from his body and he rose and walked out of the house, where he found the guards all asleep. When he arrived at the place where Kamapuaʻa was being held, he found the guards asleep.
Lonoawohi then placed his hand at the nostrils of Kamapuaʻa and discovered he was still alive and breathing. Lonoawohi said: “Alive! I thought you might be dead, but I see that you’re not. These bones will live!”
After a while he again said to Kamapuaʻa: “E! The wai lands of Oʻahu are mine.”
The meaning of the request was this: Lonoawohi wanted all the lands containing the word “wai,” such as, Waiʻanae, Waialua and so on.
Lonoawohi knew, through his great powers, that ʻOlopana would be killed, and that Kamapuaʻa would conquer and possess the island of Oʻahu. This was the reason he made this request.
After this exchange between Lonoawohi and Kamapuaʻa, the kahuna returned to his place and sat down. For the rest of the night, he prayed to his god because at dawn he was to be placed on the sacrificial altar with Kamapuaʻa.
In the morning ʻOlopana and the priest Malae began the ceremonies performed before a human sacrifice was offered. The two went and climbed onto the terrace (ʻanuʻu) of the sacrificial stand (lele) and prayed; before the prayer ended, Kamapuaʻa rose above them and opened his eyes.
When Malae and ʻOlopana saw Kamapuaʻa standing above them, they froze with fear and awe. Kamapuaʻa prayed and invoked his many bodies and all his gods. At the close of the prayer the heiau was surrounded by the gods and pigs. Kamapuaʻa then called out to the priest Lonoawohi .
Then, Lonoawohi appeared and raised a kapa banner to mark off an area of kapu; those who entered this area would be saved from death. After this, the slaughter began and the only one who survived Kamapuaʻa’s wrath was Makaliʻi. This was how Kamapuaʻa killed ʻOlopana and conquered Oʻahu. (KCC)
When Kamapuaʻa started to divide the land, one of the notable aspects of the tradition of Kamapuaʻa is that, Lonoawohi, his priest, asked for and received the lands whose names begin with the word “wai” (i.e. Waikiki, Waianae, Waiawa, Wailupe, etc.) Thus, the priests of the Lono class received the “wai” lands. (Maly) This gave a monopoly of well-watered lands on Oʻahu. (Landgraf)
Kamapuaʻa missed his parents, so he transformed to a fish and traveled to Molokai; he convinced his parents to return to O‘ahu. Satisfied that his parents were home, Kamapuaʻa turned into his fish body for a final journey to Kahiki, the ancestral homeland. (Dye) Later, the lands were redistributed. (Landgraf)
In Hawai‘i and essentially in all cultures – water meant life and growth. In Hawai‘i – “Wai” – fresh water – is a life force – it meant abundance and wealth and was a consistent theme in native traditions, practices, land use and historical accounts.
(Lots of information here is from Fornander, Westervelt, KCC and Maly; the image is a collage of a wooden carving of the demi-god Kamapuaʻa – at Bailey House Museum.)