A Kohala oral tradition passed on by kūpuna and retold by three generations of the Kawaiʻaeʻa ʻohana who are descendants of Naeʻole.
When a prophecy proclaims that the unborn Kamehameha would grow to overshadow the ruling chiefs, his life from birth is in danger. Nae'ole, the trusted chiefly attendant of Kamehameha's mother, races across Kohala to save the infant Kamehameha. The first printing of Kohala Kuamo'o: Nae'ole's Race to Save a King commemorates the 200-year anniversary of Kamehameha's unification of the Hawaiian Islands under one rule in 1810.
Who was Kamehameha?
Kamehameha, a high-ranking Hawai'i Island chief from the district of Kohala, was the first ali'i to unify the Hawaiian Islands as a single nation, ultimately establishing the shared identity that Hawaiians enjoy as one people. His achievement fulfilled prophesies that foretold his greatness even while in the womb of his mother, Keku'iapoiwa. Hearing such prophesies, Alapa'inui, the Hawai'i Island ruler of the time, ordered that the child be killed upon birth. Kamehameha's life was nonetheless safeguarded through the efforts of his first guardian, Nae'ole of Hālawa.
Who was Naeʻole?
Nae'ole, a chief of Hālawa, Kohala was the iwikuamo'o or most trusted and close attendant of Kamehameha's mother, Keku'iapoiwa. He was given the responsibility of safeguarding Kamehameha from the first moments of his life through to his young childhood. Pursued by an army of the ruling chief, Nae'ole traveled over miles of difficult terrain during a torrential storm to bring Kamehameha to the safety of 'Āwini, Kohala. The story, Kohala Kuamo'o: Nae'ole's Race to Save a King, describes how Nae'ole was able to do so with the loyalty and assistance of Kohala's people.