“Formerly, capital punishments were usually inflicted secretly in the night. The kings and some of the chiefs had a particular class of servants, called ‘ilamuku’, or executioners, to whom the business of punishing capitally was usually entrusted.”
“This class of men was much feared by the people, for there were no public trials, nor public sentence pronounced, and there fore whenever the executioner was seen abroad, there was general consternation, especially among those who were conscious of having committed offences, or incurred the displeasure of the king.”
“They usually went in the night and attacked their victims with clubs or stones, without giving him any warning. If the executioner were discovered by the friends of the criminal they neither dared to give him warning, nor resist the executioner, lest they should incur the displeasure of the king.”
“After the introduction of edged tools, and especially axes into the country, beheading secretly in the night became a rather common form of execution. The last instance of this took place in the year 1822”. (Richards to Wilkes)
In early 1822, Liholiho (Kamehameha II) had five official wives but took other women to his bed. When the court stopped in Hilo, Liholiho met Sarai Hiwauli, who became his “ano wahine” [a kind of formal partner].
She also slept with Ha‘alo‘u, a member of Liholiho’s entourage, and when the court returned to O‘ahu, Ha‘alo‘u brought her with him.
At some point, Liholiho discovered that Ha‘alo‘u had also slept with one or more of his ali‘i wahine. (Marin claims that it was Pauahi.)
While at Pu‘uloa, Liholiho ordered Koli‘i and Kahalai‘a to kill Ha‘alo‘u. On October 16, 1822, they killed him while he was sleeping next to Sarai. (Marie Alohalani Brown)
“It was in the reign of Kamehameha II and was for the same crime as the above. The king sent an ilamuku in the night, who found the criminal fast a sleep, his wife lying by his side.”
“The executioner gently pulled the woman’s head one side, and then with a broad axe instantly severed the head of her husband from his body.” (Richards to Wilkes)
This victim was Ha‘alo‘u (whose wife was Sarai Hiwauli).
Sarai Hiwauli was born in Kahalu‘u, Ko‘olaupoko (O‘ahu); she was taken to Hilo, Hawai‘i to be raised, along with her parents and her kupuna.
Because the chiefs of the time knew the kupuna of her father, she was not seen as some stranger, and so she lived amongst them; but those who did not know, they questioned here her living with and dining with the ali‘i.
She was enrolled into the school of John Honoli‘i by Chiefess Kamāmalu to learn the alphabet, because she enrolled all her people with Honoli‘i to learn the alphabet.
After Ha‘alo‘u’s death, Sarai lived without a husband for maybe a month, then John Papa ‘Ī‘ī took her as a wife. The two of them were not separated from the time they were married. (Hae Hawaii, 10/1/1856, p. 156)
John Papa ʻĪʻī began his service in the royal court when he served as an attendant to Liholiho, Kamehameha II. ʻĪʻī later became a trusted advisor and chief in the court of Kauikeaouli, Kamehameha III.
When Kamehameha III formed the Chiefs’ Children’s School in 1839 under the direction of Amos and Juliette Cooke, John Papa ‘Ī‘ī joined the school on May 14, 1840 and served as kahu, or vice-principal, while his wife Sarai helped care for the students.
“John Ii and his estimable wife, Sarai, are attached to the institution, and exercise an important and useful guardianship over these royal and noble pupils. The parents of the pupils are highly satisfied with the management and success of the school.” (Bingham)
Sarai [or Sarah] died at Nawiliwili, Kauai, August 29, 1856; she was travelling with the Ali‘i who were circuiting the land, and she got paralysis (possibly a stroke/ heart attack) and died. (Hoku Loa o Hawaii, 9/11/1856) She is buried in Kawaiahaʻo Cemetery. They had no children.
Sarai Hiwauli was a loving, benevolent, and respectable woman. She was highly regarded by all for her righteousness and her piety.
She will be mourned from Hawaii to Niihau by her fellow church members and mostly her people. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.” (Hoku Loa o Hawaii, 9/11/1856)
‘Ī‘ī then married Maleka Kaapa of Hilo on August 1st, 1861. She died “of consumption” (the common name for tuberculosis in that era) September 12, 1861, aged 19 years.
‘Ī‘ī’s third wife was Maraea Kamaunauikea Kapuahi; they married on January 1, 1862. Honolulu. By her he had Irene Kahalelaukoa, who married C. Brown and then Carl Holloway.
He was raised under the kapu system and his life ended with him in service of the Christian ministry.
Upon the arrival of the missionaries in Hawai‘i in 1820, John ʻĪʻī was among the first Hawaiians to study reading and writing with the missionaries, studying under the Reverend Hiram Bingham.
As time passed, John ʻĪʻī divided his time between the ruling Kamehamehas and the missionaries, particularly Reverend Bingham. John soon became an assistant to Bingham and a teacher at the latter’s school.
Mary A. Richards in her “Chiefs’ Children’s School” says, “Through the perspective of a century, John ʻĪʻī stands as one of the most remarkable Hawaiians of his time.”
The Reverend Richard Armstrong had this to say about him, “John ʻĪʻī, a man of high intelligence, sterling integrity and great moral worth.”
ʻĪʻī received training at Lahainaluna Seminary, where the Rev. Sheldon Dibble and others encouraged Native Hawaiians to record their history.
With rare insight into the workings of the monarchy as well as the common people, ʻĪʻī did just that, contributing regularly to the Hawaiian language publication Ka Nupepa Ku‘oko‘a from 1866
He lived in an old-fashioned cottage about where the Judiciary building now stands in downtown Honolulu. His home was named “Mililani,” which means exalted or lifted heavenward. At nearly seventy years of age, after a life devoted to the furtherance and development of Christianity in Hawai‘i and the development of a democratic form of government, he died there on May 2, 1870.