Today is a beautiful day in Waimea and all across Moku o Keawe. It’s Father’s Day 2019. The Kohala Mountains are “alive with the sound of music.” The summits of Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualālai and Kīlauea are free of clouds. Cobalt blue. Our majestic purple and blue-stained Mauna “stand proudly in the calm.” Mark Twain was absolutely on point when he described our archipelago as “the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean.” Beautiful islands in an isolated corner of the world’s biggest ocean peopled by very gracious, generous, giving, and beautiful people.
We have featured some of these “beautiful people” from Moku o Keawe in our last few columns. Folks who are leaders. Leaders within our homestead communities. From July through October we will honor a few more. “Servant Leaders” who give their all, their daily best to “better conditions” for their communities. From Keaukaha, Puna, Ka‘ū, Kona, Kawaihae, Hāmākua, Kohala. They all possess “he ‘ōpū ali‘i.” The heart of a chief.
Driving home today from breakfast I thought about a few of our ali‘i who left a special legacy through which they will forever be remembered. For better. Or for worse. Depending on one’s perspective.
Paiea. Kamehameha I (?-1819). Kamehameha started his unification effort at Pu‘ukoholā Heiau in Kawaihae in 1790, an initiative that took him twenty years to complete, thereby ending centuries of bloodshed and conflict across our pae‘āina. Paiea, the legendary warrior spent his final days carrying an ‘ō‘ō (planting stick) as a mahi‘ai.
Queen Ka‘ahumanu (1768-1832). Kamehameha’s favorite wife. She promulgated the Kingdom’s first body of laws with Christianity as its basis. Helped negotiate first trade agreement with a foreign power, U.S. 1826. A wahine of strength.
Kamehameha III (1814-1854). Kauikeaouli, our longest serving ali‘i. Promulgated Kingdom’s first constitution. Faced several major internal and external challenges. Epidemics from imported diseases that decimated our population. 1848 Māhele that altered the ancient land system thereby adversely impacting all existing traditional societal structures. 1850 Kuleana Land Act. Lord Paulet incident. Admiral Thomas intervention on behalf of the English Crown to rectify Paulet’s misdeed.
Kamehameha IV (1834-1863) & Queen Emma (1836-1885). His reign was short. Eight years. He and Emma are best noted for their contributions to Hawaiian well-being. As Founders of Queen’s Hospital (body), St. Andrews Priory (mind) and St. Andrews Cathedral (spirit).
Kalākaua (1836-1891). First monarch to travel around the globe. A renaissance ruler. Reinstituted the hula banned by the missionaries. Built a palace. A leader who lived “on the edge of knowledge.” He had a curious mind. Was willing to explore new worlds and try new things (the telephone and electricity).
Queen Lili‘uokalani (1838-1917). Sister to Kalākaua. Both reigned during a very tumultuous time. A time of Change. A beloved Monarch. Brilliant woman. Prolific songwriter. Author of Hawai‘i’s Story by Hawai‘i’s Queen (a must read) whose Kingdom was stolen via a conspiracy, masterminded by US Minister to Hawai‘i, John L. Stevens and a cabal of thirteen American businessmen calling themselves The Committee of Safety. Assisted by troops from the USS Boston stationed in Honolulu Harbor on January 17, 1893. Lili‘uokalani left her assets in Trust to support orphaned Hawaiian children.
Bernice Pauahi (1831-1884). Pauahi refused an offer to accede to the throne. Childless, Pauahi (like Lili‘uokalani) left all her wealth to support a school for Hawaiian children –The Kamehameha Schools.
“HAVE THE HEART OF A CHIEF.”