Bishop Museum Press
P. Christiaan Klieger
Born a living god, Kamehameha 3 (r. 1825-1854) was the last traditional king of the Hawaiian islands. His preferred domicile was a tiny, silty island within a large, freshwater fishpond at Lahaina, Maui. This sacred island of Moku’ula was also home to the supernatural guardian of the royal family, the fearful lizard goddess Kihawahine. Moku’ula stood witness to one of the most trying times in Hawaiian history-with the introduction of Christianity, increasing domination of the kingdom by foreign powers, monetization of the economy, and commodification of the land. The kapu refuge at Moku’ula, with the last god-king in residence, became a symbol of tradition Hawaii and an emblem of resistance on a landscape of change.