HONOLULU--Few states boast the Aloha State's range of heroes
immortalized in bronze.
There are statues of
monarchs and adventurers and several of U.S. presidents, found
throughout the island. Asian nationalists are prominent, too,
reflecting the state's ethnic and plantation heritage, and last
year the first statues of Hawaiian performing artists were
unveiled. More than half of the statues were installed in the
1990s. A rundown follows:Kamehameha I (Year of birth unknown, died-1819). Any statue
tour must begin with Kamehameha I (also called Kamehameha the
Great), who was honored by his fourth statue last year.
Born a high chief on the Big Island, he had conquered the major
islands of Oahu, Maui and the Big Island by 1795; in 1810 Kauai
gave in without a fight. He took advantage of Western advisers and
guns, was an astute trader and developed the sandalwood industry
and a system of laws.
Sightseeing buses stop by the historic Judiciary Building in
downtown Honolulu (now housing the state Supreme Court) to see
Hawaii's best-known--and most-photographed--statue. Ironically, the
kingdom's Legislature--dominated by missionary families and
planters--commissioned the statue in 1878 to celebrate the
centennial of Capt. James Cook's discovery of the Hawaiian Islands.
King Kalakaua unveiled it in 1883 during his coronation
celebrations, which included the opening of his Iolani Palace
across the street. It was completed in 1880 by an American artist
in Florence, Italy, but the German ship carrying it to the islands
caught fire and sank off the Falklands.
A replica Kamehameha statue fronts the Judiciary Building. The
original, retrieved by divers, arrived here a few years later and
was installed at Hawi (near Kamehameha's birthplace) on the Big
Island's northern tip, where it stands today. Neither statue--plus
a replica in the Capitol in Washington--looks like Kamehameha (a
model was used).
Another Kamehameha statue was unveiled last June in Wailoa State
Park in Hilo (the site of his headquarters while conquering the Big
Island). There is a story behind that one, too. Created in Italy in
the 1980s, the 12-foot bronze was commissioned by the Australian
owners of Kauai's 2,250-acre Princeville resort. Residents,
however, opposed installing it at the resort: Kamehameha had little
to do with, and never conquered, Kauai (Kauai's King Kaumualii
ceded it to Kamehameha).
Japanese investors bought Princeville, and the statue remained
in a warehouse. In June 1996 it was given to a committee composed
of graduates of Kamehameha Schools, a private institution for
Hawaiians, who planned the Hilo site. It took a year to raise the
$100,000 needed for a pedestal, landscaping and installation.
Kamehameha was a young chief when Capt. Cook arrived at
Kealakekua Bay, south of Kona on the Big Island in early 1779.Captain James Cook (1728-1779). Cook was killed at Kealakekua
Bay during a skirmish at which Kamehameha is believed to have been
present. On his first visit to the bay the previous year, Cook was
regarded as a god. On his final visit, problems arose over a stolen
ship's boat and a high chief being taken as a hostage for its
Cook's first landfall in January 1778 was at Waimea on Kauai's
south shore. His statue is in the town's center, installed 150 year
later, in 1928. It is a replica of one at Witby, England, Cook's
birthplace, and a plaque states that it was erected by the people
of Kauai to commemorate Cook's "discovery of the Hawaiian
(Today, it is incorrect to describe Cook as the discoverer of
these islands: Polynesian seafarers discovered and settled them
more than 1,000 years before).Queen Kaahumanu (1768-1832). Following the death of Kamehameha
in Kona in 1819, the Hawaiian religion was abolished. There were
battles, heiau (temples) were destroyed and such taboos as women
not eating bananas and eating in the company of men were
eliminated. Kaahumanu, the Hana-born queen regent and adviser to
succeeding monarchs, spearheaded that change.
In 1820, the first New England Protestant missionaries arrived,
finding a religious voiid. Kaahumanu later converted Her
eight-foot-high statue is the centerpiece of the main courtyard at
the Kaahumanu Shopping Center outside Kahului Airport. It was
created and installed in 1994 as part of an expansion that doubled
the size of the center, which has more than 100 stores and
restaurants.King Kalakaua (1836-1891). Kalakaua brought all the pomp and
ceremony of a Victorian-era monarchy to the islands, building
Iolani Palace in 1882.
Known as the Merry Monarch, he was the choice of the planters
and merchants for king. Soon after his election, he was off to
Washington to negotiate a sugar treaty, making Hawaiian sugar
competitive in the U.S.
He did much to revive the Hawaiian culture, particularly the
hula. However, his overspending and his penchants for bringing in
overseas adventurers in his cabinet and for expensive and
unsuccessful schemes, such as sending a gunboat to take over Samoa,
frustrated the business community. In 1887, he was forced to accept
what is called the Bayonet Constitution, making him in effect a
His statue can be seen in Waikiki at Gateway Park. The statue
and park, with palms and yellow hibiscus, were created in 1991.
There also is a statue of him in military uniform in downtown Hilo,
unveiled in 1988 (he had a home across the street where the defunct
Hilo Hotel stands).
He died at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and his sister,
Liliuokalani, became queen.Queen Liliuokalani (1837-1917). Her statue, an eight-foot-high
bronze figure unveiled in 1982, is located between Iolani Palace
and the Capitol. Revered by Hawaiians today, she tried to restore
the power to the monarchy that her brother had lost. During one
weekend of political intrigue in January 1893, she was overthrown
by the merchant and planter community while preparing to introduce
a new constitution.
U.S. sailors and marines came ashore at the request of the U.S.
minister here, an opposition supporter, ostensibly to protect U.S.
property and lined up opposite the palace. Believing that the U.S.
government would restore her to the throne, Liliuokalani gave in to
avoid bloodshed, and the following year Hawaii became a republic.
In 1895, following an unsuccessful counterrevolution by her
supporters, Liliuokalani was imprisoned for almost eight months in
a palace now used as government offices.
Visitors can see the room, and a quilt she began sewing while
incarcerated, on guided palace tours (the 45-minute tours are
conducted Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Admission: $8; $3 for guests ages 5 to 12).Robert Kalanihiapo Wilcox (1855-1903). A bronze statue of the
man who led the counterrevolution, Wilcox, can be found on Fort
Street in downtown Honolulu. A plaque there describes him as
"Hawaii's freedom fighter." The statue of Wilcox, in military
uniform, was unveiled by the City and County of Honolulu in 1992, a
prelude to the commemoration events of the 100th anniversary of the
overthrow of the monarchy in January 1993.
Born on Maui--his father was a sea captain, his mother a
Hawaiian princess--he was a schoolteacher and studied (thanks to
Kalakaua's funding) at a military school in Italy. He became a
legislator, and led an unsuccessful move to restore Kalakaua's
powers following the Bayonet Constitution, giving up after taking
the palace. In the 1895 revolt, he led 200 insurrectionists
fighting in the valleys behind Honolulu. They were rounded up
within two weeks.
Wilcox spent one year in prison and was elected in 1900 as
Hawaii's first delegate to Congress. He died while running for
sheriff of Honolulu, some believing from ingesting ground glass put
in his drink.U.S. presidents Hawaii has statues of two U.S.
presidents--Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) and William McKinley
(1843-1901). A statue of a young Lincoln is on the grounds of the
Ewa Elementary School in West Oahu, thanks to the organizing
efforts of an enterprising teacher in the 1940s. McKinley's is at
McKinley High School on King Street in Honolulu.
It was during McKinley's administration that the U.S. annexed
Hawaii almost 100 years ago, in August 1898, with the islands
becoming a territory two years later. After Liliuokalani's
overthrow, President Grover Cleveland sent a special envoy to
investigate, concluded the overthrow was wrong and was ready to
hand the kingdom back to the queen.
Ironically, visitors will not find a statue--even a street or
school--named for Cleveland (Republican Party politicians
controlled Hawaii up to the mid-'50s). But Cleveland got
sidetracked by events and by a Senate set on imperialism and
expansion, leading up to the Spanish-American War. There was
support here for annexation.
In 1993, President Clinton--and Congress through a
resolution--formally apologized to the Hawaiian people for U.S.
involvement in the 1893 overthrow.Father Damien (1840-1889). The priest served at the Kalaupapa
leprosy settlement on Molokai from 1873 until his death from the
affliction in 1889.
His boxlike bronze fronts the Capitol here and is similar to one
located in Washington. Created by Venezuelan-born sculptor Marisol
Escobar, who worked from photographs of the dying priest, its
design and placement caused controversy at the time.
Visitors here between mid-August and mid-November last year
would have missed it. The statue was taken away for repair. Years
of heavy traffic, including slowing sightseeing buses, had damaged
the granite base.
Father Damien de Veuster was born in Tremeloo, Belgium. In 1995,
Pope John Paul II presided over Damien beatification ceremonies
outside Koelkelberg Basilica in Brussels. Among the more than 100
attending from Hawaii were a dozen former patients who still live
at the Kalaupapa settlement, now a national historic park. They
returned with a relic (Damien's right hand), which was reinterred
at his Kalaupapa church, St. Philomena's (his remains had been
returned to Belgium in 1936).
What will be Hawaii's next statue? One possibility is a monument
to Henry Opukahaia, the man responsible for bringing Christianity
to the islands.
His descendants are planning statues to be erected on the Big
Island and in Honolulu. Opukahaia, born on the Big Island, inspired
the New England missionaries to come here, with the first shipload
arriving in 1820.
Hawaiian music legends honored with statues
Last year, the Hilton Hawaiian Village unveiled statues of two
greats of Hawaiian music and dance--Alfred Aholo Apaka (in March)
and Iolani Luahine (in September). The statues are located at the
shopping arcade walkway, near the hotel's Tapa Tower Bar. Following
are biographical sketches of the honorees:Alfred Apaka (1919-1960). A legendary singer, recording artist
and radio and television star, Apaka opened the village's Tapa Room
in 1955 and performed there until his death at age 40. In the early
1950s, he went on tour with Bob Hope and performed on Hope's radio
and television shows.Iolani Luahine (1915-1978). A legendary hula dancer and
teacher, she was instrumental in bringing about a renaissance in
Hawaiian culture. She performed at the village in the 1950s and in
1976 was named one of Hawaii's Living Treasures.
Following are sketches of other honorees from outside history's
mainstream:Duke Kahanamoku (1890-1968). Regarded as the father of modern
surfing, he won gold medals for swimming in the 1912 Olympic Games
in Sweden and the 1920 Games in Belgium. He also finished second in Austria
during the Games of 1924. He starred in several Hollywood movies
and was honorary Honolulu sheriff for more than 20 years. The
nine-foot-high statue, at Waikiki's Kuhio Beach, was unveiled in
August 1990, on the 100th anniversary of his birth. However, it was
not until the summer of 1995 that enough money had been raised for
an identifying plaque.Sun Yat-Sen (1866-1925). As a teenager, Sun Yat-Sen, the father
of modern China, followed an older brother to Hawaii in 1879. He
attended what became Iolani School and later was a doctor,
practicing in Kula on Maui. With Hawaii as his base, he at various
times returned to China, organizing opposition to the Manchu
Dynasty and leading the 1911 revolution. There are two statues--one
in Honolulu's Chinatown, at Beretania and River streets; the other,
in gardens at Honolulu Airport's central concourse, which was
erected on the 100th anniversary of his birth. China also is
represented by a statue of Confucius (551-479 B.C.) at the Maunakea
Marketplace in Chinatown.Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1940). Born in India and a London-trained
lawyer, Gandhi led nonviolent protests against British rule, first
in Africa and later in India. He never came to Hawaii. His statue,
unveiled in 1990, fronts the Honolulu Zoo in Waikiki. It was
presented by the Gandhi Memorial International Foundation.Jose Rizal (1861-1896). A doctor who trained in Europe, Rizal
is a Filipino national hero. He led the fight against Spanish rule,
was arrested and shot. There are two Rizal statues--one at
Beretania and College Walk in downtown Honolulu; the other, in
stone, fronting the County Building at Lihue, Kauai, erected by the
Kauai Filipino Community Council.