Honolulu unveils King Kamehameha III statue to mark holiday

HONOLULU — Honolulu has dedicated a statue of King Kamehameha III to mark the 175th anniversary of Sovereignty Restoration Day.

The city celebrated Hawaiian culture and history on Tuesday as it unveiled the 12-foot (3.7-meter) bronze statue in Thomas Square, the site where rule was restored to Kamehameha on July 31, 1843.

The ceremony was timed to the exact hour when five months of British occupation was ended by British Royal Navy Rear Adm. Richard Thomas, Puakea Nogelmeier, a retired University of Hawaii professor, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The $250,000 statute was outfitted with lei during the ceremony and guarded by Honolulu firefighters dressed in 19th century uniforms. Kamehameha founded Hawaii’s fire department and shared power with three branches of government during his 29-year rule.

“This is Kamehameha III’s place at Thomas Square, and it’s fitting that it have a statue of Kamehameha III, not Adm. Thomas,” Mayor Kirk Caldwell said. “He gets the name but he doesn’t get the statue.”

The city celebrated the restoration of power Tuesday by lowering the British flag and raising the Hawaiian flag. The statue by artist Thomas Jay Warren depicts Kamehameha’s arm raised to the Hawaiian flag, with one foot planted in the past and the other lifted to the future, Caldwell said.

Caldwell told those gathered that the ceremony represented “our ongoing story of our people — all of our people, whether you’ve got the koko of the Hawaiian blood or whether you showed up last week, or you’re one of the immigrant groups that came to work the plantations. We’re all part of that story today.”

  1. Ken Conklin August 3, 2018 6:08 am Reply

    A statue to my favorite Hawaiian King, Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III, was unveiled in Thomas Square on the 175th anniversary of Sovereignty Restoration Day. Sadly it has the same motives as erecting statues to Confederate heroes, in Southern states, decades after they lost the Civil War — celebration of secessionist attitudes, defiance against the U.S. government, and assertion of race-supremacist nationalism. Hawaiian activists disrespect Kauikeaouli by making him their poster-boy for anti-American secessionism when in fact the King offered a Treaty of Annexation to the U.S. in 1854.

    Some Hawaiian activists say they seek to restore a multiracial nation. But actually they do ethnic cleansing of history, refusing to acknowledge the hero of Sovereignty Restoration Day, Rev. Dr. Gerrit Judd, the King’s closest advisor. He risked his life writing the petition to Queen Victoria, demanding the King sign it despite alcoholic depression, and getting an American sailor to deliver it.

    Kauikeaouli’s greatest achievements were to proclaim a Constitution establishing racial equality under the law, and the Great Mahele creating private property. But today’s Hawaiian activists reject both, demanding racial supremacy under a theory of “indigenous rights”, and communal land tenure in “Hawaiian Homelands.”

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