Prince Kūhiō Day was established by Hawaiian territorial Legislature resolution in 1949 to honor the birthday of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, born on March 26, 1871. Prince Kūhiō is often referred to as Ke Ali’i Makaainana (“Prince of the People”).
Heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawai’i, he was a ten-term elected delegate to the U.S. Congress. He died on January 7, 1922. He is remembered with many streets, beaches, buildings, and schools bearing his name (see a few in the list below).
The day honors his many accomplishments in service of his people and the Hawaiian Islands. On Prince Kūhiō Day, state offices will be closed, as well as public schools, courts, and driver licensing centers. Public transport may operate on a holiday schedule. As Prince Kūhiō Day is not a federal holiday, post offices will remain open.
About Prince Kūhiō
Prince Kūhiō was born on March 26, 1871, in the Kōloa District of Kaua‘i. At the age of 13, he was named a Prince in a royal proclamation by his uncle King Kalākaua. Kūhiō’s early education included Honolulu’s St. Alban’s and Oʻahu Colleges (known today as ‘Iolani and Punahou Schools). He later studied at California’s St. Matthew’s Hall Military College and England’s Royal Agricultural College.
Prince Kūhiō was a notable athlete competing in several sports the Hawaiian martial art of Lua. He was also an excellent horseman and marksman.
He was greeted as an equal in royal courts across Europe and spent time in Japan as a guest of the Japanese Government. Kūhiō hoped to marry a Japanese royal to solidify Hawaiian Kingdom ties with the nation, but he ultimately returned to the Islands unmarried.
Following the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893, Prince Kūhiō joined revolutionaries to restore the monarchy. He was ultimately arrested, charged with treason, and imprisoned for a year. Kūhiō was pardoned when Queen Lili‘uokalani abdicated in exchange for the pardon of her supporters who had led the revolt.
Kūhiō married Chiefess Elizabeth Kahanu Ka‘auwai and left the islands in a self-imposed exile. The newlyweds traveled through Europe and Africa. Prince Kūhiō returned to the Islands in the Fall of 1901 to continue the fight for native Hawaiian rights and the rehabilitation of the Hawaiian race.
To perpetuate the Hawaiian people and their culture, Kūhiō re-established the Royal Order of Kamehameha I in 1903 and served as Aliʻi ʻAi Moku until his death. He helped form the first Hawaiian Civic club in 1918 whose mission is to provide scholarships for Hawaiian students, to perpetuate the Hawaiian language and cultural traditions, and to pass legislation beneficial to the Hawaiian community.
In 1902, he served as a non-voting delegate from Hawaiʻi to the House of Representatives in U.S. Congress until his death in 1922. He shaped the foundation for Hawaii’s modern government structure, including the county system still in place today., He sponsored the first bill for Hawaii’s statehood in 1919.
Among his many other accomplishments, he secured federal funds to construct Pearl Harbor, the establishment of the Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse, the construction of the Territorial building, the Hilo wharf, the establishment of Hawai‘i Volcanoes and Haleakalā National Parks, and construction of a hospital at the Molokaʻi Kalaupapa Settlement.
Kūhiō is known as Ke Ali‘i Maka‘āinana (Prince of the People). He passed away on January 7, 1922 at his home in Waikīkī. Hawaiiʻs last prince was buried at Mauna ‘Ala, the Royal Mausoleum in Nu‘uanu.
More info: Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole (dhhl.hawaii.gov) and History of Prince Kūhiō Day in Hawai‘i & How To Celebrate | OluKai
Prince Kūhiō memorial sites in Hawaiʻi
The following sites and locations across the Hawaiian Islands are named after Prince Kūhiō.
- Hawaiʻi Island: Prince Kūhiō Plaza, 111 E Puainako St, Hilo, HI 96720
- Kauaʻi: Prince Kūhiō Park, Koloa, HI 96756
- Oʻahu: Kūhiō Beach Park, 2453 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815 (from Uluniu to Kapahulu Avenues along Kalākaua)
- Oʻahu: Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole statue at Kūhiō Beach Park, 2537-2501, Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815 (between Keʻalohilani and ‘Ōhua Avenues along Kalakaua)
- Oʻahu: Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Federal Building and US Courthouse, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96850
- Oʻahu: Prince Kūhiō burial place at Royal Mausoleum State Monument, 2261 Nuuanu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96817
Annual events celebrating Prince Kūhiō
There are several statewide celebrations of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, especially his birthplace on Kauaʻi and his final home on Oʻahu. Some of the largest events are listed below. Find these and more on our calendar.
Kauaʻi: Prince Kūhiō Canoe Race. More info: Kauai Outrigger Association (koapaddler.org)
Kauaʻi: Anahola Prince Kuhio Day Celebration at Anahola Beach Park. More info: Anahola Beach | Kauai.com
Oʻahu: Prince Kūhiō Parade & Hoʻolauleʻa in Kapolei. Kapolei is home to the largest concentration of Hawaiian homesteads and headquarters to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The parade will end with a Ho’ike’ike/Hoʻolauleʻa (festival) at Ka Makana Aliʻi Shopping Center. More info: Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement | We Uplift Lāhui (hawaiiancouncil.org)
Oʻahu: Prince Kūhiō Statue Lei Draping in Waikīkī. The statue at Kūhiō Beach, Waikīkī is draped by Hawaiian Civic Clubs. More info: Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs (aohcc.org)
Upcoming Hawaiʻi State Holiday Events
Saturday, March 25, 2023
Sunday, March 26, 2023
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