Clarice B. Taylor on Koihala, conclusion, 1949.


All About Hawaii

By Clarice B. Taylor


The ohia log, destined to be carved into a god for the heiau at Makanau, was partially raised up the temple walls with the assistance of the High Chief Ko’ihala.

The priests in charge of the work had persuaded Ko’ihala to exert his mana (spiritual power) by placing his hands upon the log as the men on the upper heiau wall pulled up on the lines attached to the log.


When the log had been raised to a distance just above the chief’s head, it seemed to be stalled again. The chief had stepped back to survey the work.

#     #     #

The priest turned to Ko’ihala and urged him to  step under the log and press his hands up against it as the men pulled on the lines.

#     #     #

Ko’ihala complied with the request.

At a signal from the priest, the men hauled the log up a foot or so and then let it drop on their chief.

#     #     #

This was the end of Ko’ihala, the Kau chief of overweening ambition who attempted to build the largest heiau on the Big Island without regard for his people.


Mary Kawena Pukui of the Bishop Museum staff, who related the story, says it is one of the best illustrations of why the Kau district people gained a reputation as rebels.

The Kau chiefs never overlooked an opportunity to rebel against their overlords and the people of Kau rebelled against their own chiefs who oppressed them.

(Star-Bulletin, 3/28/1949, p. 22)


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Volume LV, Number 17635, Page 22. March 28, 1949.

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