An alii, Kaikioewa was born in 1765 at Waimea, Kaua‘i, but he’d moved to Hilo by 1782, the year his cousin Kamehameha I had embarked upon his conquest of Hawai‘i.
During Kamehameha’s conquest of O‘ahu in 1795, Kaikioewa fought in the “Battle of Nu‘uanu,” in which O‘ahu’s defenders were routed up Nu‘uanu Valley by Kamehameha’s forces after a stubborn defense.
At the valley’s end, at today’s Pali Lookout, O‘ahu warriors fighting to the bitter end were pushed to their deaths over the edge of the steep, several-hundred-foot-high precipice.
Then in August of 1824, Kaikioewa and his men, along with reinforcements from O‘ahu and Maui, sailed to Kaua‘i to quell a rebellion of Kaua‘i chiefs led by Prince George Kaumualii, King Kaumualii’s son.
Shortly thereafter, the rebel chiefs were defeated in battle above the eastern side of Hanapepe Valley about 2 miles inland.
As a consequence of their defeat, Kaua‘i lost the independence it had enjoyed under Kaumualii and virtually all of its alii were deported.
Kaua‘i was then parceled out to windward chiefs, and Kaikioewa was appointed Governor of Kaua‘i.
While Kaikioewa was Governor, Waimea was his capital, and the residence he built there in 1826 still stands and serves as the parsonage of the pastor of the Waimea United Church of Christ.
Governor Kaikioewa was also instrumental in the birth of sugar on Kaua‘i, when he and Kamehameha III leased 980 acres at Koloa to William Hooper, William Ladd, and Peter Brinsmade in 1835.
These three men then started Ladd &Company, which would eventually become Hawai‘i’s first successful sugar plantation.
Sometime between 1835 and 1838, Governor Kaikioewa also established the town of Lihu‘e by founding a settlement there for the purpose of growing sugarcane in the area.
Kaikioewa’s men built his residence and a church in Lihu‘e on land now occupied by the Lihu‘e Post Office, the Lihu‘e Bank of Hawaii, and the former Lihu‘e Plantation Store, once situated across Rice Street from the Post Office.
Governor Kaikioewa died of mumps in 1839 at the age of seventy-four.