Transcribed by Solomon L.K. Peleioholani (1902)

Translated by Aloha Kekoolani (2004)




Original genealogy manuscript containing The Keepers of the Sacred Fire (Peleioholani, Solomon L.K. c. 1902) (Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Microfilm 232.6 G1.10)





In 1902, the ali‘i Solomon L.K. Peleioholani recorded a genealogy of his great grandfathers, the Maui king Kamehameha Ailuau and the niau pio Ali'i, Keawemauhili, the Sacred One, whose intertwined kapus doubled back, twisting and turning into one another. This genealogy includes a chant declaring and explaining the sanctity of Old Hawaii's High Chiefs, especially those of the House of Keawe. The chant The Keepers of the Sacred Fire refers to the mana of the sacred chiefs, as symbolized by the torch of Keawe called “Ahilapalapa” which was the sacred flame of noon-day, insignia of the god Kane and sacred to the ruling house of Hawaii.


The Keepers of the Sacred Fire was originally transcribed in Hawaiian. In 2004, the handwritten manuscript was found in the archives of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Two years later, it was rendered into English by Kumu Aloha Kekoolani, who is Peleioholani’s great, great granddaughter. Our family witnessed the translation and believe her work was inspired directly from our kupuna Solomon Peleioholani, who we sensed as being very present with us during the translation process. The resulting poetry captures for us what we believe to be the original  sense of awe and solemn reverence felt by the people for the institution of Hawaiian chieftainship during the eras before Contact.


This genealogical chant names and pays homage to, among others, the highly kapu ninaupio chiefess Kalanikauiokikilo and her mother the high chiefess Kalola of the Maui royal family. During his own lifetime Solomon Peleioholani (1843-1916), witnessed the institution of the hereditary Ali‘i Kapu fade into irrelevance. Consequently, by the time it was rendered to written text in 1902, this homage to the chiefs was primarily an exercise in nostalgia, for the Hawaii to which it referred had essentially disappeared..




No laila e ike ia i na Alii a me na Hawaii. Lahui oiai‘o a pau i keia lalani. Alii kiekie loa i waena o ka lahui Kanaka Hawaii


Therefore, it is known within the High Chiefs

And together with the entire Kingdom of Hawaii,

And, in fact, authentically to all people.

This high ranking genealogical verse of poetry of the Chiefly Order

Amoungst and between the common people and land of Hawai‘i.


Engraved in stone,

Yet flowing like the serene waters of unity,

From the fire, this sacredness will remain.


This is to affirm, certainly, that a sacred fire burns.

A sacred fire has burned from this foundation.

In the sacred fire, lies the chiefly body of the people.


In the season of protection

Herein lies the sacred dignity and noble bearing of these elder chiefs,

Likened to the sweetened unbittered waters,

Entitled to Respect and Reverence, Difficult to Access, of High Rank.

From these appeased Sacred Chiefs, Peace and Strength


The season emerges

And when held upright, is the reflection of these things.

Arisen, the entire spiritual body above the earthly body

And with a spiritual house

Amoungst all these things, clinging together

Is the body of the High Chiefs


To verify this truth, the chiefess Kalolapupukaohonokawailani

With her daughter Kalanikauiokikilo Kekumanomanokekapu, 

Certainly this name was previously known

In the genealogical chant, the Ko‘ihonua, of the High Chiefs from Kekumanomanokekapu


These names are known throughout Time

In the Correct Succession of Chiefs

The name of the Highest Chiefs were burned in the sacred fire

Above the platform and the alter of Puowaina

These Chiefs, their Names, were burned in the fire


There was a Niau Pio high chief,

Namely Haakaailani, younger generational sibling of Kaka‘e

The offspring of the marriage of a high ranking brother and sister

His father's own marriage ranked Ho‘i, the Chief Kahekili of Maui

Two of the most prominent chiefs


The Ali‘i Saraiwikahi of Waipi‘o Hawai‘i,

For within the bosom of Paka‘alana , a royal birth

A royal offspring was born

The Niau Pio  child of the marriage between High Ranking brother and sister

The three of these, exalted Chiefs, were burned in the sacred fire

For the foundation of Molokai

Thus, this was the beginning of the child


Kamaka ‘o Haloa – a keiki

A royal Ali‘i offspring, this Naha child born

Between the union of a Chief and his half sister, entitled Kapu Noho

Increasing in rank from the descendant of a Chief

Kanipahu together with chiefess Ali‘i Kanakoko

A royal Chiefess from Hilo

A royal union (he pi‘o)

A marriage of full brother and sister of Niaupi‘o rank

The highest possible rank


And it is from this heated foundation of Fire

These High Ranking Chiefs and Chiefesses arose in the past

During this period of time,

These High Chiefs were greeted and feared


They were together with the people

And controlled the entire archipelago of the Hawaiian Islands

For there was great strength in the Sacred Kapu of these Native Born, Foundational, High Chiefs


Therefore, it was known and understood  

The great importance of the royal blood of the Chiefs

And their Rank, Positions, Titles, Places, Reputations and Prominence

These Supremely High Chiefs and Chiefesses


The Succession of Genealogical Chiefs,

Were built with the Sacred Kapu, this Dignity

It was known as the Generations of Firmly Planted Genuine Chiefs.


Their Spirits have spoken, their Offspring have arisen

They have branched out, these numerous Chiefs

Let this knowledge be known, broadcast, circulated, and extended

To the numerous common people


This is the Hawaii Lineage of Keawe

This is the Hawaii Lineage of Keawe

His Highness – S. L.. Peleioholani 

His Highness – I. K. Peleioholani 

Her Highness- Governess S. L. Ululani Baker