Hawaii's Road to Statehood: Part 2

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Hawaii's Road to Statehood: Part 2

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Hawaii Island , Kauai , Maui , Oahu
Aug 14, 2009

Across the street from 'Iolani Palace sits Ali'iolani Hale.  Built in 1874 by King Kamehameha V, the building was originally intended to house the royal palace and serve as the seat of government.  Due to escalating costs--even then building costs could get out of control--the palace portion was skipped--giving the subsequent king--Kalakaua--something to build.

The story about this property that I find most interesting relates to the statue in front.  It was cast in Paris, France in 1883 and is a monument to King Kamehameha I, also known as "King Kamehameha the Great."  As the statue made its way from France to Hawai'i, the ship that was carrying it sank near the Falkland Islands.  So a second statue--this one--was commissioned and, eventually, installed in front of Ali'iolani Hale.  Surprisingly, though, the first one was eventually recovered, cleaned up and placed in Kapa'au on Big Island--the birthplace of King Kamehameha I.  Every year on the day set aside as a state holiday--June 11--both statues are adorned with lei in an elaborate ceremony to celebrate the monarch who conquered the Hawaiian Islands and established the Kingdom of Hawai'i in 1810.

King Kamehameha is remembered for the Kanawai Mamalahoe or the "Law of the Splintered Paddle," which promotes compassion and protection for noncombatants during war.  He declared, "Let every elderly person, woman and child lie by the roadside in safety."  It became the first written law of the Kingdom of Hawai'i and still exists in the state constitution (Article 9, Section 10) today as a public safety reminder.

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