Waiakalua: Stream of the crater

Wai-a-ka-lua is one of the ten ahupua`a of the Ko`olau district. The ahupua`a was divided into two areas: Waiakalua-iki and Waiakalua-nui. Sometimes these are referred to as separate ahupua`a, but like Ka`aka`aniu, these areas would have been extremely small and hardly able to pay the tribute/taxation demanded from an ahupua`a during the Makahiki season.

The streams of Wai-a-ka-lua are all fed from springs. There were taro fields in the valleys. The house lots were scattered among dry-land fields and on the ridge between the two streams. [Handy] [Fornander] [Nai]


A boy was born in Waiakalua circa 1790. He was trained to be a warrior and became an expert at spear-dodging, slinging stones, bone-breaking and other martial arts. He became part of Kaumuali`i`s guard and was tattooed from his hip to his foot on one leg. Kaumuali`i was the king of Kaua`i and this tattooing of his immediate guard was a reminder that his father`s brother Kahekili, king of Maui and Oahu, was similarly tattooed. This young man must have been very tall, as one of the requirements for his position was to be seven feet in height.

In 1824, after Kaumuai`i died, a battle was waged between Humehume, Kaumuali`i`s oldest son, and the forces of Kamehameha II. The Kaua`i warriors attacked Fort Hipo at Waimea and were repulsed. They retreated to the plains of Hanapepe and Wahiawa, armed with the ancient wooden weapons. The Kamehameha forces were armed with modern weapons and defeated the Kaua`i forces easily. The war was named `Ai-pua`a, Eating pork.

For two weeks after this battle, the Kamehameha forces hunted the defeated in order to destroy them, man woman, and child, once and for all. All men with"black legs" were to be killed on sight. When they reached Wai-a-ka-lua, they found the young man hiding in a woman's sacred house. He was led out and placed before a firing squad. The young warrior refused to have his hands bound and stood facing the enemy soldiers. As the command "Fire!" was given, the young man ducked, ran forward at top speed, grabbed two of the rifles from the soldiers and, pushing past them, escaped.

From then on, this young warrior was given the name Nā-pū-elua, The two rifles. After an amnesty was declared, Nāpūelua returned to Wai-a-ka-lua where he lived peacefully and in 1848 lay claim to some land which he received two years later. He is the last known "black leg", the last of the honor guard that protected the person of Kaua`i's last king.