The royal union of Queen Ka-pi`o-lani’s sister, Esther Kino`iki Ke-kaulike and
David Ka-hale-pouli Pi`ikoi produced three sons; Edward Keli`i-a-honui, who
died in his teens, David Ka-wanana-koa, and Jonah Kuhio Ka-lani-ana-`ole.
While not too much is known of their father’s lineage (he died in 1880),
their mother’s royal lineage is well known and respected. Jonah, later known as
Prince Kuhio, was born on Kaua`i's south shore near Po`ipu Beach on
March 26, 1872. His birthday is celebrated as a Hawai`i state holiday.
Brothers Jonah and David were adopted into the childless royal family and
titled princes for life by David Ka-la-kaua. They were ali`i by right of descent
from their great-grandfather Kaua`i’s King Ka-umu-ali`i. Ka-wanana-koa
and Ka-lani-ana-`ole were the crown bearers at the coronation of
Ka-la-kaua. The two young ali`i participated in many of the royal events, as
Ka-la-kaua was grooming them for their future.
Prince Jonah Kuhio Ka-lani-ana-`ole was a cultural hybrid. Hawaiian in
appearance, name and loyalties, his overall attitude was a makeup of his
education. He was primarily educated in California and England, and spent
a year in Japan. Ka-la-kaua hoped that this would result in a marital alliance.
Kuhio chose for his wife, Chiefess Elizabeth Ka-hanu Ka`auwai.
Regrettably, the union was a love match that produced no children.
Unfortunately for Kuhio, all of his chances for ascending to the throne were
dashed with the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. Two years later, the
prince, affectionately known as “Prince Cupid,” a royalist, was arrested for
treason for plotting a counterrevolutionary attempt. He spent the next two
years in jail as a political prisoner. Upon his release, he and his wife traveled
extensively throughout Europe and were treated as visiting royalty. He then
returned home and on March 4, 1903, became the elected Republican
delegate to the U.S. Congress.
Also in 1903, he reorganized the Royal Order of Ka-mehameha and was the
founder of the first Hawaiian Civic Club.
In 1919, Kuhio sponsored a bill calling for Hawaiian statehood, a full forty years
before it became a reality. In 1921, Kuhio stirred the emotions of Congress as he
spoke of the decline of his people who numbered fewer than 24,000 in the 1920
census, believed to be about 10% of the former Native Hawaiian population. In
1921, President Harding signed the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.
Despite Kuhio’s wishes, the Act contained high blood quantum requirements and
leased the land instead of granting fee simple, making it a perpetual government
institution. He served on the first Hawaiian Homes Commission starting on
September 16, 1921.
Kuhio died in Honolulu in 1922 at the age of fifty. He was given a state
funeral befitting an ali`i (king). After a week of mourning, he was buried at
Mauna ‘Ala, the Royal Mausoleum in Nu`u-anu, O‘ahu.
Truly a son of the islands, he dedicated his life to the future well-being of
his people. He was also instrumental in launching international Hawaiian canoe racing,
commissioning the construction of the first racing-purpose built outrigger canoe in 1906
by Kahuna Kalaiwa‘a Moku‘ohai (master canoe builder in Kona). Kuhio's canoe won championship
races consecutively from 1907 through 1910. Many consider Kuhio the father of
Hawaii canoe racing as an internationally-recognized sport.
This information was provided by the late Stella Burgess, former Director of Hawaiian Culture at the Grand Hyatt Kaua'i Resort and Spa.
Please contact George Makali'i Thronas, Manager of Hawaiian Culture at the Grand Hyatt Kaua'i Resort and Spa at 808-240-6452.
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