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An island kahuna (Japanese: しまキング Island King or しまクイーン Island Queen) is a person who presides over a certain island challenge in the Alola region. Island kahunas serve as the final obstacle in that particular island's trial and battle a Trainer in a Grand Trial. There is one kahuna for each of the four main islands of Alola, with each one chosen by that island's guardian deity. In addition to presiding over an island, they are also in charge of tending to their guardian's ruins when necessary and selecting new Trial Captains for their island. Prior to the establishment of the Alolan Pokémon League, a Trainer attempting their island challenge who had finished all of their trials and grand trials was to scale Mount Lanakila and battle all four kahunas in a row in order to become an island challenge champion.
According to Acerola, a person chosen to be an island kahuna cannot refuse the position; in this case, she was referring to Nanu. A kahuna's reign lasts until they die, as was the case with Hapu's grandfather and predecessor, or are forcibly ejected from their position by their respective guardian deity, as was with the case with a former unspecified kahuna who established the gang that Team Skull drew inspiration from. The time in between an island kahuna's exit from their position and the naming of a new one is not always immediate — following the death of Hapu's grandfather, Poni Island was left without a kahuna for several years.
It is unknown how the lack of a kahuna affects the island challenge, specifically the assignment of Trial Captains and the final trial. In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Poni Island's sole Trial Captain Mina states that a kahuna from one of the other islands has to subsitute for an island without one in order to allow that island's Grand Trials to be conducted - a role Nanu had to play prior to Hapu's crowning; but does not mention who selected her for the captainship.
List of island kahunas
In the anime
In the Pokémon anime, defeating the Island Kahunas is a major part of Ash's island challenge. To date, Ash and his classmates have encountered the following island kahunas:
In Young Kiawe Had a Farm!, Kiawe's grandfather was mentioned to have been a kahuna prior to the start of the series.
- Each kahuna wears an article of clothing of the color that corresponds to their island's name and guardian. Hala's Aloha shirt is yellow, Olivia's shirt is pink, Nanu's undershirt is red, and Hapu's bonnet is purple.
- All island kahunas keep their Pokémon in Ultra Balls.
In other languages