Ka Hulina Au Tshirt by Hawaiinuiakea- Size M
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- $30 USD
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- $15 USD
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Tshirt designed by Hawaiian Force
The ending of aikapu and the battle of Lekeleke
Ka Hulina Au: The Changing Time
In early May, 1819, the great warrior Moi of the Aupuni of Hawaii, Kamehameha Paiea passed away. He left an heir to rule the Aupuni, his son Liholiho and a nephew, Kekuaokalani who had custody of his powerful personal war god Kukailimoku. In addition to these two high ranking Alii Nui were two equally powerful female chiefs, Kaahumanu, who had also been Kamehameha’s Kuhina Nui (chief counsellor) and Keopuolani, the mother of Liholiho and the rest of his most sacred children, and a chief of the highest rank in her own right.
Barely six months after the Conqueror’s death, Liholiho and his younger siblings would be at the behest of Keopuolani and Kaahumanu, intentionally violate and end a social and religious practice known as aikapu, that was over a thousand years old, which ritually separated all men and women, alii and makaainana alike, from eating in each others presence and included strict prohibitions of certain foods to men and certain foods to women. This decision set the ruling family against a number of other powerful Alii Nui including Kekuaokalani, the tender of the war god and within a month, their forces fought one of the last great battles among the chiefs at Lekeleke in Kona on Hawaii island.
Liholiho and Kaahumanu prevailed. Kekuaokalani and his wahine Manono were slain on the battlefield, and the aikapu gave way to ainoa, free or unsanctified eating with enormous implications for the social, cultural and political fabric that had provided stable and effective leadership for more than a thousand years.
Ka Hulina Au commemorated this difficult and fateful time with mele and hula, oratory and dramatic performances, poetry and music, celebrating the courage and dedication of these Alii Nui and call us to ponder the complexities of leadership in enigmatic times.
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