In Hawaii, the 26th of March is a state holiday to celebrate Prince Kuhio’s birthday. For the second year in a row due to COVID, a private celebration was held at his birthplace on Kauai. But this year, for the first time ever, a recording of the ceremony will be shown as a Facebook Live event beginning at 10 am (HST) today on the Na Kahu o Ho’ai page. Next year the public will again be invited to participate.
Prince Kuhio was born on Kauai in 1871, 150 years ago yesterday. The great-grandson of Kauai’s last ruling chief, Prince Kuhio was in line to become King when the monarchy was overthrown in 1893.
Nearby on Kauai, we have on many occasions visited his birthplace. In most years, there is a public event honoring Prince Kuhio through giving ho’okupu (offerings). The commemorative ceremony is conducted by the Royal Order of Kamehameha. This year, however, it was done without the public’s attendance.
When Jonah Kuhio turned 13, he was proclaimed Prince by his Uncle King Kalakaua. He was educated at what is today Iolani and Punahou schools. Later he attended college both in California and in England. Kuhio also traveled to Japan.
After the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893, Kuhio helped try to restore the monarchy. He was subsequently arrested and spent one year in prison for treason before being pardoned by Queen Liliuokalani upon her abdicating the throne. Thereafter Kuhio traveled to Europe and Africa before returning to Hawaii. He later served as the non-voting U.S. House of Representatives delegate.
Prince Kuhio is also associated with the construction of Pearl Harbor, and the establishment of the Big Island’s Volcanoes National Park, Kauai’s Kilauea National Park, and Molokai’s Leper hospital at Kalaupapa. He also helped create today’s Hawaii county system and was the first sponsor of a Hawaii statehood bill.
Prince Kuhio died in Honolulu on January 7, 1922.
Details: You can visit Prince Kuhio Park and Monument on Kauai’s South Shore. It’s located on Lawai Road near Poipu. Established in 1928, the park includes Ho’ai Heiau.
Above image of Prince Kuhio statue at Waikiki.