Releasing Saturday, Sept. 8th

The Bitter Water of Battle
The Paiʻea Projects x Fitted Kepaniwai Pack was inspired by one of the most-bitter battles recorded in Hawaiian History. It is said that this was the most pivotal assault for Kamehameha the Great while conquering Maui. In 1790, Kamehameha (aka Paiʻea) led a brutal campaign to take over the Valley Isle while its ruling Mōʻī (King), Kahekili, was conquering O’ahu. As a result, Maui was under the rule of Kahekili’s son, Kalanikūpule, and left vulnerable to invaders. Kamehameha and his peleleu (armada of canoes) landed on the shores of Kahului, Maui with approximately 1200 warriors.

“I mua e nā pōkiʻi a inu i ka wai ʻawaʻawa (Forward, my younger brothers, until you drink of the bitter water of battle),” yelled Kamehameha to his warriors as they advanced from the shores of Kahului.

With firearms blasting and kanaka maoli hitting the ground like ripe ‘ulu falling from the breadfruit tree, Kalanikūpule and his defending-forces were pushed back into ‘Iao Valley. The Maui warriors may have stood a chance were it not for the Western weapons of Kamehameha’s haole homies, Isaac Davis and John Young.

During the bloody encounter, Kalanikūpule escaped to Oʻahu, but his warriors were not as lucky. Outgunned and overpowered, the defeated defenders attempted to elude the invading army by climbing the cliffs of ‘Iao Valley, but they were shot down with the cannons of Davis and Young. “Ka‘uwa‘upali” (cliff-clawing) is another name for this violent encounter, which describes the Maui warriors as they attempted to desperately escape the cannon balls.

Ke ʻīnana la me he ‘ōpae ‘oeha‘a (Active like freshwater shrimp), which is said of the scattered warriors who climb rocks and hillsides to escape death.

The Maui forces’ dead bodies dammed the ‘Iao River, and the water ran red with blood. Hence this battle’s more popular name, “Kepaniwai” (dammed waters).

Pai‘ea had many ties to the second largest Hawaiian Island. His mother, Keku‘iapoiwa II, was a princess from the Valley Isle, as well as many of his wives. The Kepaniwai pack commemorates his conquest of Maui: the red in the basketball jersey and New Era rip-stop snapback pays homage to the blood that was spilled at “Kepaniwai” and the royal bloodline that links Kamehameha to the Kekaulike Dynasty. Many believe Pai‘ea’s biological father was Kahekili, who was one of Kekaulike’s 15 sons. The #23 on the basketball jersey is a shout out to Kekaulike, who was the 23rd Mō‘ī of Maui.

Mixed Martial Artist Ilima Maiava-who is proudly wearing the Kepaniwai Pack in these images—also has a noteworthy lineage. The 29-year-old, Wai Side native is the grandson of pro wrestler Neff Maiava, nephew of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and brother of Cleveland Browns linebacker, Kaluka Maiava. The 6’2” kanaka maoli recently defeated Wesley Golden via TKO in the main event of the Unorthodox Industries Championship 8 at the Lahaina Civic Center. He was undefeated as an amateur fighter, and has a 2-2 professional record. Although the 205 lbs. division was challenging for Ilima, he dominated the 195 lbs. weight class (try ask Wesley Golden) and is planning to drop to 185 lbs. division. As a warrior of the octagon, the native Hawaiian tasted the “bitter water of battle” firsthand, and has a modern-day warrior’s blood running through his veins.
Kepaniwai o ʻIao