Kuamo‘o Battlefield spans 47 acres and includes a sea cave said to be the haunt of shark god Ukupanipo and this sea arch. - Photo: Courtesy of the Trust for Public Land

Two talks this month will complete an “Experts” lecture series on the Battle of Nu‘uanu and aspects of Hawaiian culture relating to military campaigns and culture.

All lectures are open to the public, free of charge, and take place from noon to 1 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Andrew’s Von Holt Room at 229 Queen Emma Square in Honolulu.

“The Battle of Nu‘uanu, known as Kaleleaka‘anae in Hawaiian, is one of the most famous battles in Hawaiian history and the climax of Kamehameha’s campaign to unify the Hawaiian archipelago under his rule,” said Dr. William R. Chapman, director of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and organizer of the series.

“Historic accounts corroborated by scientific and cultural landscape studies have narrowed down locational information about where Kamehameha’s troops landed on O‘ahu’s southeastern shores, progressed from the Wai‘alae and Waikīkī areas inland to Pūowaina, then onward into Nu‘uanu Valley. Kamehameha’s infantry, armed with muskets and cannons, thoroughly routed the O‘ahu forces of Kalanikupule, similarly armed with muskets and cannons. Warriors from both sides perished after plummeting over the Pali cliffs,” said Chapman.

The lecture series will also discuss the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) of the National Park Service and later efforts to commemorate the battle that led to the unification of Hawai‘i’s principal islands in 1795.

The series’ March speakers and their topics are:

  • March 1: Sam ‘Ohu Gon III, Nā Papa Kānaka o Pu‘ukoholā, “Leleka‘anae: Commemorating the Battle of Nu‘uanu with the Community for 20 Years.”
  • March 8: Kim Birnie, Daughters of Hawai‘i, “A History of Remembrance: Venerating the Battle and Healing the Wounds of Nu‘uanu.”

Created in 1988, the historic preservation Experts series began as a collaboration between the Historic Preservation Program, Department of American Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Historic Hawai‘i Foundation and the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace. Now in its 31st year, the lectures provide kama‘āina and visitors alike the opportunity to explore a particular aspect of the rich history of Hawai‘i.