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Mōʻī of Maui
Piʻikea, Chiefess of Maui and Hawaiʻi
FatherHigh Chief Kawaokaohele
ReligionHawaiian mythology
Coconut tree on Maui, island of Piʻilani

Piʻilani ("ascent to heaven"[1]) (born ca. 1577)[2] ruled as the 15th Mōʻī of the island of Maui, as an independent kingdom within the islands of Hawaii in the later part of the 16th century. He is the first ruling Alii to unite the island under a single line.[3] His rule was peaceful for most of his reign. His father was Kawaokaohele[4] and his mother was Kepalaoa.[5] Pilʻilani and his offspring are important in legends of Maui, in the same way as Liloa and his son ʻUmi-a-Liloa in the legends of the island of Hawaii.[4] The two family lines of Piʻilani and Liloa were closely associated although from separate islands. ʻUmi was a supporter of Kiha-a-Piilani, Piʻilani's son, when he went to war. The lineage would continue in west Hawaii and east Maui in lesser lines and would be seen in the lines of Moana Kane from Liloa and Piʻilaniwahine from Piʻilani in the couples marriage and offspring.[6]

Piʻilani's father and grandfathers, came from western Maui and with Piʻilani himself, for the first time this family would now control the eastern side as well.[7] Piʻilani began building a roadway that would wrap around the entire island of Maui, the first such road in the islands. It was wide enough for eight men to walk aside each other. It was completed by his son and today some sections of Piʻilani Highway still use the old path where, in places, the old stones are still visible.[8] After Piʻilani's death the line of succession would become a struggle that would be similar to that of ʻUmi and Hakua of Hawaii.[7]

Family tree[edit]


  1. ^ Piʻilani
  2. ^ Piʻilani's family
  3. ^ Glenda Bendure; Ned Friary (2008). Lonely Planet Maui. Lonely Planet. pp. 242–. ISBN 978-1-74104-714-1.
  4. ^ a b Patrick Vinton Kirch (7 July 2012). A Shark Going Inland Is My Chief: The Island Civilization of Ancient Hawai'i. University of California Press. pp. 206–. ISBN 978-0-520-95383-3.
  5. ^ P. Christiaan Klieger (1 January 1998). Moku'Ula: Maui's Sacred Island. Bishop Museum Press. ISBN 978-1-58178-002-4.
  6. ^ Kanalu G. Terry Young (25 February 2014). Rethinking the Native Hawaiian Past. Routledge. pp. 48–. ISBN 978-1-317-77669-7.
  7. ^ a b Patrick Vinton Kirch (2 November 2010). How Chiefs Became Kings: Divine Kingship and the Rise of Archaic States in Ancient Hawai'i. University of California Press. pp. 101–. ISBN 978-0-520-94784-9.
  8. ^ Greg Ward (2001). Maui. Rough Guides. pp. 229–. ISBN 978-1-85828-852-9.