2003 sees a parade for Kaumualii but not Kamehameha

Besides being a day when state and county offices close, Kamehameha Day is the main holiday celebrated in Hawaii that recalls the days of old Hawaii.

In a twist on tradition, this year Kaumualii, the last king of the separate kingdom of Kauai, was for the first time the focus of a modern-day celebration and parade held on Kauai. And again no traditional Kamehameha Day parade is being held on Kauai. The Kaumualii event held in January highlighted the first Kauaians Day celebration.

In planning the event, parade director Edee Bandmann said in January, “King Kaumualii has never been acknowledged, that is a reason we are doing this. To give this parade its own uniqueness we are calling this He Inoa No Kaumualii – In the name of Kaumuali’i.'”

The Kauai king’s rival was Kamehameha, the alii warrior who conquered the windward islands of Hawaii by force and founded what came to be known as the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Kamehameha celebrations are being held this month in Honolulu, on Maui and the Big Island. But none on Kauai.

Whether the Kaumualii celebration will become an annual event that might overshadow the Kamehameha Day parades of the past remains to be seen.

The King Kamehameha Celebration Commission in Honolulu is interested in again holding a Kamehameha Day parade, or other Kamehameha celebration events on Kauai, if anyone here is interested in heading up the effort.

“No we don’t have a commissioner (for Kauai) and we haven’t been able to find one,” a spokesperson for the commission said yesterday.

The commission is open to submitting a name to the office of Governor Linda Lingle for appointment to the statewide commission. Anyone interested can call the commission at 808-586-0333.

Kaumualii ceded Kauai and Niihau to Kamehameha in 1810 at a tense meeting held near where today’s Pearl Harbor Navy base is located. The Kauai king apparently had second thoughts about giving up his kingdom when Russian ships arrived in the mid-1810s, and a Russian-American company representative Georg Anton Scheffer offered support in arming Kauai for a possible invasion of Kamehameha’s territory.

The Russian plan fell apart due to Kamehameha’s displeasure over a Russian fort being built overlooking Honolulu Harbor, which led to his order that the Russians should be expelled from Kauai.

After Kamehameha’s death at Kailua, Kona on the Big Island in 1819, Kaumualii was exiled to Honolulu in 1821 by Liholiho, the son and successor of Kamehameha. Kaumualii died in 1824 and is buried alongside Keopuolani, the “sacred” wife of Kamehameha, in the Wainee churchyard cemetery in Lahaina, Maui.

Kamehameha’s lust for Kauai’s lands in the early 1800s is detailed in the writings of mid-1800s native Hawaiian journalist Samuel Kamakau. In the Kamehameha School Press’ collection of his voluminous Hawaiian language newspaper writings titled “Ruling Chiefs of Hawaii,” Kamakau states that Kamehameha sought to fulfill the desires of his men to conquer more lands. Gathering a fleet of battle canoe said to number 800, he stirred up his forces by saying, “Let us go and drink the water of Wailua, bathe in the water of Namalokama, eat the mullet that swim in Kawaimakua at Haena, wreathe ourselves with moss of Polihale, then return to Oahu and dwell there.”

Kamehameha’s plans were ruined when an epidemic known as the Okuu swept through his camp in Windward Oahu, decimating his army. Kamehameha’s military conquest of the Kauai Kingdom never came about.

TGI Editor Chris Cook can be reached at 245-3681, Ext. 227 or mailto:ccook@pulitzer.net.


Closed today

  • County refuse transfer stations (Hanalei, Kapaa, Lihue, Hanapepe)
  • Kekaha landfill
  • County and state offices

Open today

  • Island Recycling at the Kauai Resource Center
  • Puhi Metals Recycling Center
  • Post offices
  • Many financial institutions
  • Regular rubbish collection schedules are on.
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