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 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, learn something new. 

This week, we bring attention to another busy highway here on Oʻahu.

From the ahupuaʻa of Kāneʻohe through Heʻeia to Kahaluʻu, which all lie within the moku of Koʻolaupoko here on Oʻahu, stands a busy highway named after a chief who once ruled the island. 

We are talking about Kahekili Hwy.

The word hekili, which is the primary word in the name Kahekili, can be translated as “thunder, passion, or rage.”

The name Kahekili comes from a high chief who some believe to be the father to King Kamehameha the Great.

Born on the island of Maui, Kahekili tattooed half his body entirely black to match his name’s sake, Kāne-Hekili, the god of thunder.

Given his brother’s kingdom, Kahekili became ruling chief, but he desired to increase his political power. 

Through battle and war, Kahekili proved himself a formidable adversary which led to a reign of nearly 3 decades.

Through his conquest, Kahekili became ruler of all the Islands with the exception of Hawaiʻi island. 

At the age of 87, Kahekili died in Waikīkī. 

His eldest son and heir apparent, Kalanikūpule, inherited his kingdom.

It was after Kahekili’s passing when chief Kamehameha continued his own conquest to unify all the Hawaiian Islands.

Kamehameha defeated Kalanikūpule at the Battle of Nuʻuanu which transferred control of Oʻahu to the rising king.

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This eventually led to the establishment of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1810 by King Kamehameha the Great.

Did you know?  Now you do!