The legacy of Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III) – the longest reigning monarch in Hawai‘i’s history – was recently honored with the dedication of a statue of the king at Honolulu’s Thomas Square.
Nearly 30 Kamehameha Schools Kapālama High School po‘o kula student ambassadors dedicated a day of their summer vacation to help host the event. The haumāna presented a maile lei and oli as makana before the king’s statue. They also greeted and seated guests, presented lei to dignitaries and served lunch. KS alaka‘i attended the historical event as well.
The dedication took place on July 31 during the annual celebration of Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea (Sovereignty Restoration Day) when in 1843 the Hawaiian Kingdom was reinstated to Kamehameha III after illegal British occupation. Rear Admiral Richard Thomas of the British Navy led the restoration efforts.
On that day from the steps of Kawaiaha’o Church, the king proclaimed: “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono” – The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness – which now serves as Hawaiʻi’s official state motto.
Kauikeaouli – like Ke Ali‘i Pauahi – believed that education was key to the survival of the Hawaiian people. During his reign, he established a school system that integrated Hawaiian language and culture into Western education. The schools were so successful that at the end of his 30-year reign in 1854, Hawai‘i was one of the most literate nations in the world.