Ululani Special Feature

Lāhui Rising Series

This educational series is designed to create a safe, respectful and enriching learning space for all audiences to hear and honor various perspectives on matters of Hawaiian interest.

Māweke, A Voyaging Aliʻi

Hōkū Akana


Māweke, A Voyaging Aliʻi
According to 19th century historian, Abraham Fornander, Māweke was an early 11th century aliʻi nui, high chief. The name of chief Māweke is associated with voyaging and the flourishing of Polynesia people as they travelled between islands on sea vessels without the use of modern tools. From Māweke, his grandchildren are the highest blue-blood of Hawaiʻi aliʻi who spread out over the islands to lead the people of Hawaiʻi; likewise, our stories begin with Māweke and follow his descendants as they journey outward across Hawaiʻi.
As a northern Oʻahu chief, Māweke was a lineal descendent of the Nanaulu line, which Fornander considers to be the more reliable genealogy being least affected by interpretation compared with the Ulu lineage. Although both the Nanaulu and Ulu lines are descended from Wākea and Papa, the Nanaulu lineage is most often referred to by the Kauaʻi and Oʻahu chiefs but less so by Maui chiefs and hardly ever with Hawaiʻi chiefs.
Description: C:\Users\miakana\Desktop\Maweke.jpg
Photo courtesy of State Archives.
The migration to Hawaiʻi which discovered and settled remote and widely scattered islands throughout central Pacific
 is one of the most remarkable achievements of humankind.
According to Fornander, the son of high chief Kekuapahikala and Maihikea, Māweke is 29 generations after the time of the gods, Wākea and Papa, and the first recorded chief of Oʻahu.  In these stories we see Māweke as the ruler of Oʻahu during an era when Polynesian people are constantly travelling between various island groups across the Pacific and beyond. 
According to newspapers and other sources, Prince Māweke was from Tahiti and a contemporary of ʻAikanaka, the father of Hema. Māweke married the two sisters of Nuʻuhiwa, the grandson of Paumakua. Māweke had 3 sons with Naiolaukea. These were Mulielealiʻi, Keaunui, and Kalehenui who resided in Koʻolau, Oʻahu.  The stories of Moʻikeha, Māweke’s celebrated grandson have been recorded by Fornander, Kamakau, and Kalākaua. However, each of the great Oʻahu chiefs that followed:  Mā ‘ilikūkahi, Kākuhihewa, and Kualiʻi are each descendants of Mulielealiʻi who continued to rule Oʻahu after Māweke, inter-marrying with Maui chiefs of the Piʻilani o Maui line. As Fornander and other sources point out, the common theme that each of these great aliʻi have is that they are celebrated for their ability to rule well, as signified by a long reign of peace and prosperity. Kamakau shares with us in Ruling Chiefs of Hawaiʻi that each of these honored aliʻi were given similar instructions by their hulu mākua or precious elders, to care for the god, care for the little man, and care for the big man.
Photo courtesy of Paepae o Heʻeia
A properly functioning ʻahupuaʻa system signified good management at the hands of the aliʻi in charge. In such times, the population and food flourished from mountain to sea. Beginning with chief Māweke, the noted Oʻahu chiefs of Hawaiʻi tradition managed their ʻahupuaʻa systems to ensure a thriving Hawaiian society that supported a large population of Hawaiian people.