Moses Goods to portray Kaumuali‘i

  • Chris Cook / Special to The Garden Island

    Moses Goods performs “My Name is ‘Opukaha‘ia” at Goshen, Connecticut, last year. The performance at Goshen Congregational Church marked the bicentennial of the pioneer mission to Hawaii by leaders Asa Thurston and Hiram Bingham.

The life of the ali‘i ai moku Kaumuali‘i, the last king of Kauai, is being portrayed in a one-act drama that is coming to the Kauai Museum on Sunday. Two shows are scheduled for the main gallery of the Kauai Museum at 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Admission is free and the performance is open to the public. Reservations are required. Call 245-6931.

Hawaii actor Moses Goods is giving a solo performance as Kaumuali‘i. Goods will act in a period costume.

“Kaumuali‘i lived in a very pivotal time in Hawaii’s history,” Goods said. “The decisions and choices that he and other paramount chiefs made would determine the future of the islands. Trying to understand why they made those decisions is what I find most intriguing about working on projects like this one.”

“In a letter written by Kaumuali‘i he renounces the gods of his kupuna and proclaims his conversion to Christianity,” Goods said. “Why? What was truly at the root of his decision to turn away from centuries of belief, knowledge and understanding? We’ll likely never really know, but in this piece I explore one possible reason.”

Goods recently returned from a month-long Hawaii mission bicentennial tour across New England, presenting “My Name is ‘Opukaha‘ia,” his one-act drama based on the life and death of Henry Obo‘okiah, the first Native Hawaiian Christian. Hawaii mission bicentennial events to mark the arrival of the first missionaries on Kauai are scheduled for Waimea on Saturday, May 2, and Sunday, May 3, 2020.

The performance is being brought to Kauai by the Hawaiian Mission Houses’ History Theatre program. Hawaiian Mission Houses develops portrayals of actual figures from Hawaii’s history, creates scripts and costumes for the actors, and presents the resulting dramas to the community.

Two other historical figures with Hawaii ties are being portrayed: William Kanui, who sailed away from Kauai as a youth and returned to Hawaii with the pioneer American missionary party in 1820. Mary Bishop Dowsett’s seafaring husband was lost at sea in 1834 and she went on to become an important member of high society in Hawaii.

The Kauai Museum performances are funded by the Hawaii Council for the Humanities and the Hawaiian Mission Houses.


  1. harry oyama December 14, 2019 8:18 am Reply

    That was the biggest mistake for Hawaii’s Ali’i to renounce their Hawaiian culture beliefs of religious practice based on nature which still has relevance such as the Kapu system forbidding harvesting of resources during times of spawning so that there would be fish in the next season.

    King Kaumuali’i was trained by his mother who was a high priestly class of the Molokai kahunas, the only island that could repel the invasion forces of Paohoa who brought the evil war god Ku to Hawaii and started the decimation of Hawaiians in wars.

    Furthermore Kaumuali’i had inherited the right to burn others with fire, no other King was given that right and it was noted that two of Kamehameha’s attempts to invade Kauai was stopped by Kauai’s Kahunas. When Kaumuali’i denounced his religious background and accepted Christianity, he lost access to his ancestors and the reason why Kahaumanu through Kamehameha 2 could kidnap him to be made husband of Kahaumanu, the evil female who later invaded Kauai and put her cronies in charge.

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