He was called a 'grandchild' of Lanakawai of the Ulu line, but he was born and brought up in "Kahiki" (Tahiti).
Because the chiefs of (the island of) Hawaiʻi had carelessly intermarried with junior chiefly lines, Paʻao went to Kahiki to find a relative of pure blood who could compete in rank with the chiefly lines of the other islands. He recites a chant to invite Lonokaeho to return with him. Lonokaeho declines the invitation, but sends Pili in his place.
Pili becomes high chief and wins the support of the people and he becomes the ancestor of the chiefs of Hawaiʻi on the Ulu line down to the late 19th century.
- M. Beckwith, Hawaiian Mythology (University of Hawaii Press: Honolulu) 1970.