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Aarona Keliiahonui.jpg
Born (1800-08-17)August 17, 1800
Died June 23, 1849(1849-06-23) (aged 48)
Honolulu, Oʻahu
Burial at sea
Spouse Kapule
Full name
Aaron (Aarona) Kealiʻiahonui
House Kingdom of Kauaʻi
Father King Kaumualiʻi of Kauaʻi
Mother Kaʻapuwai Kapuaʻamohu

Aaron Kealiʻiahonui (1800–1849) was member of the nobility of the Kingdom of Kauaʻi and the Kingdom of Hawaii. He is often called Keliʻiahonui, a contraction of Kealiʻiahonui.

Family life[edit]

Kealiʻiahonui was born August 17, 1800. His father was Kaumualiʻi, the last ruling King of Kauaʻi.[1] His mother was Kaʻapuwai Kapuaʻamohu. His father agreed to become a vassal to Kamehameha I in 1810, so he would never become a ruling monarch. In 1821 his father was forced into exile, and to emphasize the submission, marry Queen Regent Kaʻahumanu.

After his father died in 1824, and his half-brother Humehume led a failed rebellion, Queen Kaʻahumanu forced Kealiʻiahonui into a similar relationship. Kealiʻiahonui gave up his first wife, Kapule, symbolically married Kaʻahumanu, and there were no more rebellions from Kauaʻi. The missionaries disliked these forced marriages, and hoped education would convert them. Kealiʻiahonui was described as "...handsome, and naturally and usually more interesting at that period than most of the nobility".[2]:241 Physically he was 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) tall "...considered to be the handsomest chief in the Islands, and was proficient in all athletic exercises".[3] On December 5, 1825, he was part of a royal baptism ceremony where he took the Christian name "Aaron".[2]:278 His name is sometimes also spelled without the first "a" as Keliʻiahonui, which is what was used for his namesake grandnephew, Edward Abnel Keliʻiahonui (1869–1887). After Kaʻahumanu died in 1832, he married for a third time, to Kekauōnohi, a granddaughter of Kamehameha I and former Queen Consort.[2] He had no children that lived to adulthood.


In 1840 he was finally allowed to participate in leadership positions. It was his wife Kekauʻōnohi, however, who was officially made Royal Governor of Kauaʻi at this time. He was named in the 1840 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii as one of the founding members of the upper house of the legislature, the House of Nobles.[4] He served in the 1842 through 1848 sessions of the legislature. In 1845 he served as royal chamberlain, and from 1845 to 1847 he was included in the Privy Council of King Kamehameha III.[5]

Kealiʻiahonui died June 23, 1849 in Honolulu. A niece named Kapule after his first wife looked after him before his death. He had a public funeral on June 30. It was a combination of Christian and ancient Hawaiian practices. His coffin was taken to a cave in an area known as Puʻuloa (near modern-day Pearl Harbor). Kekauʻōnohi had wanted a burial at sea, but Kapule and her husband hid the coffin until they were convinced to offer it to the spirits that were thought to inhabit this area.[3]


  1. ^ Christopher Buyers. "The Kauai Genealogy". Royal Ark web site. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  2. ^ a b c Hiram Bingham I (1855) [1848]. A Residence of Twenty-one Years in the Sandwich Islands (Third ed.). H.D. Goodwin.
  3. ^ a b William DeWitt Alexander (1906). "The Funeral Rites of Prince Kealiiahonui". Annual report. Hawaii Historical Society. pp. 26–28. hdl:10524/87. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  4. ^ "The 1840 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii". Hawaiian Electronic Library. 1840. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  5. ^ "Keliiahonui, A. office record". state archives digital collections. state of Hawaii. Archived from the original on 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2009-11-17.