Tag Archives: King Kamehameha

Signs: Mo’okini Heiau

Signs-Mo'okini Heiau

Mo’okini Heiau is located just off one of my regular walks. The old signs for the heiau and the Kamehameha birth site fell from their original spot, tacked on a fence, some years ago. Since then, the signs have been wedged into a barbed wire fence, from which they regularly fell into the grass.

When I noticed this, I’d root the signs out and wedge them back in the fence. I believe other people also did this. At some point, one of the signs split in two, so there were three pieces to try and arrange in some way that they wouldn’t immediately fall down again.

I kept thinking I should bring some wire and a drill and try and put the signs back together again, maybe attach them to a fence post, but I only remembered this good intention when I was picking the signs out of the grass.

The grounds of the heiau are maintained by staff presumably contracted by the county or state. However, the area in the vicinity of the signs never got much attention except when, a couple of years ago, a sign prohibiting animals (on the left of the photo) suddenly appeared. I have a fondness for that sign because the chance of anyone enforcing that regulation is right up there with me winning three different lotteries on the same day (and Hawaii doesn’t have lotteries).

So imagine my surprise the other day when I reached this point in my walk and saw this spiffy new sign. Two new boards attached to a brightly painted pole securely set in a rock. I was giddy with shock and excitement (yes, I don’t get out much). If an alien spaceship had landed I wouldn’t have been more surprised. Note too the red and yellow paint on the chain across the trail to the heiau, and the well-supported post that fell down about a year ago.

Folks, forget the volcano. You want to see something truly amazing on the Big Island, come up to North Kohala and check out these signs while they’re still standing.

King Kamehameha statues

King Kamehameha statue KapaauKing Kamehameha statue Honolulu

These two photos are of statues of King Kamehameha I, the king who first united the Hawaiian Islands under one leader. On top, draped in leis from last Monday’s Kamehameha Day celebrations, is the statue at Kapaau, here on the Big Island. Below is the statue in Honolulu. It sits in front of the Aliʻiōlani Hale, which housed the government of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and the Republic of Hawaiʻi, and is currently home to the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court.

Back in 1878, a statue of the King was commissioned for display in Honolulu. The commission was given to American artist Thomas Ridgeway Gould, and in 1880 his plaster model was sent to Paris to be cast, before being shipped to Hawaii. Alas, it never made it. The ship transporting the statue caught fire and sank off of the Falkland Islands.

Fortunately, the statue was insured, so a replacement was ordered. While this process was underway, the original statue turned up! Salvaged by fishermen, it was sold to a British ship captain who recognized it. He, in turn, sold it to the Hawaiian government, which now found itself in possession of identical twin statues. But the statues weren’t identical. The replacement statue was pristine and resplendent with gold detailing. The original was missing a hand and had a broken spear, and had suffered a good deal of fire damage.

The government decided to erect the replacement statue in Honolulu and the original was restored and sent to Kapaau, near Kamehameha’s birthplace. However, the original was corroded from its time in the sea so, in the early 1900s, local residents began to paint the statue, both to prevent further corrosion and to make it more lifelike.

By the end of the century, the statue was in bad shape and in 1996 conservator Glenn Wharton was hired to assess its condition. In his book, The Painted King: Art, Activism, and Authenticity in Hawaii, he recalls being startled by what he found, ‘A larger-than-life brass figure painted over in brown, black, and yellow with “white toenails and fingernails and penetrating black eyes with small white brush strokes for highlights. . . . It looked more like a piece of folk art than a nineteenth-century heroic monument.”’

For the next few years Wharton led a community discussion about how to save the statue, including the tricky question of whether it should be restored to its original bronze and gold finish or continue the painted alternative the community had grown up with. In the end the community voted to keep the painted finish and in 2001 the statue was restored in this way and rededicated.

A third statue of King Kamehameha I was commissioned after statehood in 1959, for installation in the U.S. Statuary Hall in Washington DC. However, this statue wasn’t cast from the original molds, but from molds taken of the Honolulu statue.

Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge on the theme of ‘Twin.’ See more responses here.

Royal Hawaiian Band

The Royal Hawaiian Band was founded in 1836 by King Kamehameha III. The band presents free concerts in the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace most Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. and at the Kapi‘olani Park Bandstand in Waikiki most Sundays at 2 p.m..

I hope the photos convey something of what an enjoyable experience the band’s concert offered.

For more information about the Royal Hawaiian Band, go to rhb-music.com.

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge to be a visual storyteller.

Kiholo fish pond channel

This channel connects Kiholo fish pond and the ocean

About ¾ of a mile east of the parking area at Kiholo State Park Reserve is this channel or ‘auwai. It connects what remains of Kiholo fish pond with the ocean. King Kamehameha 1 is credited with building the fish pond though he may have actually improved one that was already there. In his day, the pond was much larger than it is today, a lava flow from one of Mauna Loa’s periodic eruptions having filled in a good deal of it.

Turtles and, of course, fish go back and forth through this channel, which also flushes brackish water from the pond. While the pond is on private land, it’s always fun to pause on the little bridge and scan the channel to see if anything is on the move.

For more information about Kiholo fish pond, go to www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/hawaii/placesweprotect/kiholo-preserve.xml.

Signs: Do not climb

A sign on a mimosa tree forbids climbing

This week’s posts are in response to the WordPress photo challenge on the theme of ‘transient.’

This sign is attached to one of two mimosa trees near King Kamehameha’s statue in Kapaau. The trees are huge with the kind of bumps and hollows that invite exploration. They’re believed to be more than 100 years old.

Not long after taking this photo, I was somewhat taken aback to see the trees almost devoid of foliage, the limbs hacked back. It turns out that one of the trees basically split in two, took out power and water lines, a chunk of the other tree, and blocked the road. It was, as they say in potboilers, rotten to the core. The cleanup is still in process, but will likely involve the removal of both trees, more than a century old, but transient in the larger scheme of things.


Hula dancers

A hula dancer holds a rattleA hula dancer performs on Kamehameha Day in Kapaau.

Some more photos from the hula dancing at Sunday’s Kamehameha Day ceremony in Kapaau, North Kohala. The performers are members of Halau Hula O Napunaheleonapua.

For more information about the Kamehameha Day and the statue, go to kamehamehadaycelebration.org.
For more information about the Kamehameha’s history, go to nps.gov/puhe/learn/historyculture/kamehameha.htm.

Beads on the legs of hula dancersHula dancers performs on Kamehameha Day in Kapaau.Hula dancers perform on Kamehameha Day in Kapaau.Hula dancers perform on Kamehameha Day in Kapaau.

Kamehameha Day ceremony in Kapaau

A lei is draped over the spear of the statue of King Kamehameha 1 in KapaauA hula group performs on front of the statue of King Kamehameha 1 in KapaauA group pays its respect to the statue of King Kamehameha 1 in Kapaau

Yesterday was Kamehameha Day, celebrating Kamehameha 1, the king who first united the Hawaiian Islands under one leader. There’s a statue of the king at Kapaau in North Kohala, and this was the scene of a ceremony honoring him.

The ceremony began in steady rain, but the weather brightened so that proceedings ended in bright sunshine. After opening blessings, various groups approached the statue and paid their respects to the king. This was followed by the draping of leis on the statue. Finally, a hula performance in front of the statue concluded events – at least as far as this ceremony was concerned. An hour or so later, there was a parade featuring representatives of all the Hawaiian islands, and for the rest of the day, there were events and music in a local park.

The top photo shows a lei being draped over the king’s spear. The lei is made up of plumeria blossoms. The leis draped over his extended arm are mostly made up of ti leaves. In the second photo, members of one of the groups honoring the king performed a hula in front of the statue. Third, I think this is the order of Kamehameha presenting an offering which was carried up and placed at the base of the statue. Below, a red plumeria lei is hoisted over the king’s spear. Bottom, after all the lei were placed on the statue, another hula performance concluded events.

For more information about the Kamehameha Day and the statue, go to kamehamehadaycelebration.org.
For more information about the Kamehameha’s history, go to nps.gov/puhe/learn/historyculture/kamehameha.htm.

A lei is draped on the statue of King Kamehameha 1 in KapaauA hula group performs on front of the statue of King Kamehameha 1 in Kapaau

King Kamehameha’s birthplace

The birthplace of King Kamehameha the Great in North Kohala.
At Kapakai Kokoiki Heiau in North Kohala, not far from Mo’okini Heiau (which can be seen on the hill in the background), stands this sign. Kamehameha Akāhi ‘Āina Hānau loosely translates as the birthplace of Kamehameha I. He was born here around 1736. The exact date isn’t known, with some accounts placing it as late as 1758. Known as Kamehameha the Great, he was the king who fulfilled Hawaiian prophecies and united the Hawaiian islands for the first time in 1810.

He was succeeded by four others in his family who took the name Kamehameha, so the name is in the forefront of Hawaiian history. In present day life it occurs in numerous ways. There’s Kamehameha Day, a state holiday, which celebrates his birth. Kamehameha Schools is an private school system with extensive land holdings on the Big Island and elsewhere. Hotels and other businesses sport the name. A fair number of them will be located on Kamehameha Street, Road, Highway, Avenue, or Boulevard.

In short, the name Kamehameha is still an integral and important part of everyday Hawaiian life.