HONOLULU (KHON2) — We all make use of our island roadways. But, when was the last time you paid attention to their given names? 

Did you know you could learn more about Hawaiʻi and our history if you did? 

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Our weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various streets across the islands so we can dig into those names; and in turn, we can learn something we may have never known before. 

This week, we highlight some of Hawaiʻi’s mana wāhine.

In the ahupuaʻa of Kalihi, which lies in the moku of Kona here on Oʻahu, stands a street given the name which translates as “woman.”

We are talking about Wahine Pl.

Here are just a few mana wāhine, or powerful women, who have influenced the course of Hawaiʻi’s history.

At the time of Captain Cook’s arrival, Hawaiʻi was split between four kingdoms, three of which were ruled by men. 

The fourth was ruled Kamakahelei, the only woman ruler in the islands; and she held the highest rank, ruling Kauaʻi and Niʻihau for twenty-four years. 

She was believed to be in possession of a secret and most powerful prayer that was feared by all called Aneekapuahi.

Keōpūolani was the most sacred wife of King Kamehameha and the highest-ranking chief during her lifetime. 

She was so sacred that her shadow was as well. 

If anyone came in contact with it, their fate was the death penalty. 

She would become one of the first Hawaiians to be converted to Christianity, being baptized prior to her death.

As the missionaries’ influence spread throughout the islands, one woman remained steadfast to traditional beliefs.

Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani, the largest and richest woman in Hawaiʻi during her day, chose to be addressed only in Hawaiian.

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Following her passing, her wealth was bequeathed to her cousin, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who then established the Kamehameha Schools which has been serving Hawaiʻi’s keiki since 1887.

Did you know?  Now you do!