Kuhio's legacy remembered
with holiday

He served 10 terms in Congress and introduced
the first statehood bill

By Harold Morse

Kuhio Avenue, the Prince Kuhio Hotel and the Kuhio Federal Building owe their names to Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole.

So do a flower shop, a jewelry store, and a host of other businesses on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki. Not to mention parks, theaters, schools, restaurants and other entities bearing Kuhio's name.

Tomorrow, Kuhio Day, marks the prince's 125th birthday

The territorial Legislature passed a resolution in 1949, establishing March 26 as a territorial holiday in honor of Prince Kuhio, who died Jan. 7, 1922, two months and 19 days before his 51st birthday.

Had the Hawaiian monarchy continued, Kuhio probably would have become King of Hawaii upon the death of Queen Liliuokalani. Instead, he was elected as Hawaii's congressional delegate for 10 consecutive terms.

In 1919 he introduced the first bill for Hawaii statehood in Congress.

Born on Kauai, he and two brothers were made princes by royal proclamation in 1884. He worked for the minister of the interior and in the custom house under the monarchy. He served Hawaii as a delegate to Congress from 1903 until his death.

In 1895, two months before he turned 24, Kuhio and brother Kawananakoa joined other native Hawaiians in an unsuccessful attempt to restore the monarchy. Freed after nearly a year in prison, Kuhio left Hawaii and traveled in Europe and South Africa, vowing never to return to a Hawaii that appeared inhospitable to Hawaiians.

He fought in the British army in the Boer War. Eventually, though, the prince under Kalakaua and Liliuokalani grew homesick. Letters from friends suggested Hawaii under U.S. territorial rule wasn't so bad, and he and wife Elizabeth returned in 1901.

Kuhio joined - and soon became disillusioned with - the short-lived pro-Hawaiian Home Rule Party. He then joined the Republican Party, controlled by the monied oligarchy. Men who had overthrown the monarchy invited Kuhio to run as delegate to Congress.

From 1903 on - through a stormy relationship with the oligarchy - Kuhio left his mark by pushing for the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, which promised native Hawaiians homesteads.

Territorial Gov. Wallace Farrington appointed him a member of the Hawaiian Homes Commission in 1921 to carry out the intent of the earlier congressional legislation.

Text Site Directory: [News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Community] [Information] [Feedback]