Ka'ianaa'ahu'ulu: A Leader of Hawai'i

Teaching Strategies


1.    Introduce Ka’ianaa’ahu’ula (Ka’iana) as a leader of the Hawaiians of the 18th century.

2.    Review with students what was happening in Hawai’i during the 18th century: Europeans had sailed into Hawaiian waters, introducing people to a strange new people and culture.  Kamehameha of the island of Hawai’i had begun his quest to unify the islands.  He was aided in this by the royalty, both chiefs and chiefesses, who were called the ali’i.

3.    Discuss with students what qualities a good leader must have under these circumstances.

4.    Ask: How does a person develop or obtain these qualities?

5.    Discuss whether the same qualities are necessary in leaders today.

6.    Have students log their responses in personal journals or on chart paper.

7.    As homework, assign that students bring in a picture or written description of a person they consider to be a leader.  This must be an actual person, either living or dead, and the individual must be identified.


1.    Distribute the reading “Ka’ianaa’ahu’ula: What Makes Him a Great Leader?” Have the students read the story and answer the following questions in their journals.
•    In your opinion, what leadership skills, if any, does Ka'iana display?
•    Describe situations or give examples from the story that support your response.
•    Do you think Ka'iana should go down in history a friend or foe of Hawai’i? Support your response.
•    If Ka'iana had shot Kamehameha I, rather than being killed himself, what would have happened? Rewrite the story.
•    In your opinion, is there anyone else in the story who is a leader? What are his or her leadership qualities?
•    Give examples from the story that support the traits of your chosen leader.
•    Compare Ka'iana to the leader whose description or picture you brought to class. What are the similarities? Differences? Explain.
•    Have you ever felt betrayed by a good friend, or someone else you trusted? If so, describe the situation or events.
•    Has this been resolved? If not, what is a solution? What did you learn from the experience?

2.    Choose one or more of the questions listed above and discuss them in class.

3.    Divide the class into pairs of students.  Each pair will go around together the next day during school and note when their partners exhibited leadership in action.


1.    Discuss what leadership qualities students noticed in their partner and describe how they demonstrated their leadership abilities.

2.    Visit other learning centers on this web site and download and print the leadership stories from Alaska and Massachusetts (Bowditch, Apanuugpak, Ekeuhnick, and Elizabeth Peratrovich).  Have students choose a story from among them and answer the following questions in their journals.  Be sure that each leader is chosen by at least one student.  
•    Select a leader from one of the stories.
•    Compare this person to Ka'iana. What are the similarities? Differences?
•    Support your response from situations in the stories of Ka'iana and your selected story.

3.    Discuss the similarities and differences between Ka’iana and the other leaders in class.

4.    Discuss similarities and differences between the qualities needed during the lifetime of each of the leaders and those needed today.  Have students take notes on the discussion in their journals.

5.    Have students do a fast-write on the topic: “A time when I led.”

DAYS 4 and 5

1.    Have students plan a Career Day in which they invite chosen leaders to the class to speak about themselves and their understanding of leadership.

2.    In preparation for the visit, help students generate questions to ask.

3.    Invite the chosen leaders and carry out Career Day.

4.    Debrief on the experience.  What did the speakers add to the students’ understanding of leadership?

5.    Remember to write thank you letters to all who spoke.