top of page
Hawaiian Kingdom History series cover.jpg

Hawaiian Kingdom History: The Kingdom, the Church, the Land


A message from the Chair of the Justice and Witness Missional Team that hosted the series:


Aloha and welcome to this series on Hawaiian Kingdom History. This series intentionally puts forward Hawaiian history from the perspective of the Hawaiian Kingdomʻs history as documented through archival materials, including many newly translated legal, church, private, and newspaper documents. Viewers will hear history that is sometimes different and more complete than the history written by those who overthrew the government and benefited from the Americanization of the islands. That Americanized history dominated our education system for many decades and is incomplete and biased toward justifying the annexation of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i.


This series traces the development of constitutional law in the Hawaiian Kingdom; recognition of Hawai‘i as an independent nation with multiple treaties with European countries and the United States; the Bayonet Constitution forced on King Kalākaua; the illegal overthrow of the government by business men, many of whom were sons of missionaries; and introduces information about international law challenges to the legality of the US annexation of Hawai‘i. The United States Congress apologized without adequately addressing the issue of Hawaiian sovereignty, which is still a point of contention.


Numerous archived communications, journal entries and reports of missionaries and church officials, as well as church newsletters and other documents from the period before and after the overthrow were presented, establishing that many churches were strong in their loyalty to the Queen even while the hierarchy of the church in Hawai‘i was controlled by those who participated in the illegal overthrow of the government and the humiliation of Queen Lili‘uokalani.


Finally, the Mahele was explained as well as the how private and public lands were divided and how Hawaiian Kingdom citizens were guaranteed land for homes and agriculture. Many of the land rights were abolished after the overthrow, and the private lands of the monarch were taken as government land.


Hopefully the series helps participants to better understand the progressiveness of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the impact of the overthrow, and the perspective of many within the sovereignty movement.

Dr. Noenoe Silva, Political Science professor at the University of Hawai‘i states:


“The Kanaka Maoli continue to protest today. We have never relinquished our national sovereignty. Kanaka Maoli are working on state, national, and international levels to have our existence as a nation recognized. Kanaka Maoli also continue to resist and protest every encroachment upon our inherent rights to this land, our ocean and fresh waters, and all the other natural resources of Hawaiʻi. We are insisting as well on our rights to keep our language and cultural traditions, and the land itself, alive.”

We hope that this series will cause you to question some beliefs you may have held and some narratives you have heard. We hope you will be inspired to further research and learning. Most importantly, we hope that you will engage in dialogue meant to increase understanding of what wounds of the past are unhealed for Hawai‘i and for the Church, and seek discernment for productive pathways to reconciliation and healing.


Malama Pono

Linda L. Rich

Chair, Justice and Witness Missional Team

View recordings and resources from this 12-part series (hosted via Zoom from August 7 - October 30, 2022).

Recordings may also be accessed through this YouTube playlist:
Hawaiian Kingdom History series


Hosted by the Justice and Witness Missional Team in collaboration with the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches.

Note: The views and methods of presenters and speakers belong to those individuals and do not necessarily represent the Hawai‘i Conference UCC as a whole.

 PART I. The Kingdom 

1. AUGUST 7 - Hōʻike ʻEkahi (Presentation 1)

Keanu Sai, Ph.D.

The importance of terminology.

Is Hawaiian a nationality, which is multi-ethnic, or a native indigenous people that have been colonized by the United States?

View presentation slides:

"The Importance of Terminology and Why the Hawaiian Kingdom Continues to Exist"

Further reading:

Setting the Record Straight on Hawaiian Indigeneity

This piece by David Keanu Sai, Ph.D., provides a deeper analysis on what was presented.

Shared resource:

The Kingdom Exists” - Free online series that relates Keanu’s historical analysis in short video clips

2. AUGUST 14 - Hōʻike ʻElua (Presentation 2)

Keanu Sai, Ph.D.


The constitutional history of the Hawaiian Kingdom from King Kamehameha III to Queen Lili‘uokalani (1839-1893)

View presentation slides:

"The Constitutional History of the Hawaiian Kingdom"

Further reading:

Kamehameha III's response to the American Consul regarding the missionaries

THE ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY: Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom

The content of Presentation 2 is from Chapter 1, "Hawaiian Constitutional Governance", of this e-book by David Keanu Sai, Ph.D.

3. AUGUST 21 - Hōʻike ʻEkolu (Presentation 3)

Keanu Sai, Ph.D.

The illegal overthrow of the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the continued existence of the Hawaiian Kingdom as a State under international law

View presentation slides:
"The Illegal Overthrow of the Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom"

Click to LEARN MORE about "Mele Aloha ‘Āina" (Patriot's Song) and LISTEN!

4. AUGUST 28 - Hōʻike ʻEhā (Presentation 4)

Keanu Sai, Ph.D.


The road to recovery of ending the American occupation. How to bring compliance to the rule of law in light of war crimes and human rights violations committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom since January 16, 1893.

View presentation slides:

"The Road to Recovery of Ending the American Occupation"

For the list of academic publications recommended by Dr. Keanu Sai in the presentation, view Pages 60-79 in the presentation slides above.

Further reading:

"Backstory: Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom at the Permanent Court of Arbitration"

Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom via Permanent Court of Arbitration (via

Professor Federico Lenzerini's Legal Opinion on the authority of the Council of Regency

THE ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY: Investigating War Crimes and Human Rights Violations Committed in the Hawaiian Kingdom

Pages 11-52 in this e-book explain the road to recovery and the formation of the Council of Regency.

Documentary: The Acting Hawaiian Council of Regency; Exposing the American Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom


For information and updates follow:

Hawaiian Kingdom Blog

 PART II. The Church 

5. SEPTEMBER 4 - Hōʻike ʻEkahi (Presentation 1)

Dr. Ronald Williams Jr.


The American Protestant "Mission" to the Hawaiian Islands: The Early "Mission" (1820-1863)

Further reading:

"Christianity in Hawaiʻi" by Ronald Williams Jr.

2017, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion


"‘Ike Mōakaaka. Seeing a Path Forward: Historiography in Hawaiʻi" by Ronald Williams Jr.

Hūlili: Multidisciplinary Research on Hawaiian vol. 7 (2011)


Other publications by Ronald Williams Jr.:

6. SEPTEMBER 11 - Hōʻike ʻElua (Presentation 2)

Dr. Ronald Williams Jr.


Hōʻeuʻeu Hou: Sons of the Mission and the Shaping of a New "Mission," 1863-1888

7. SEPTEMBER 18 - Hōʻike ʻEkolu (Presentation 3)

Dr. Ronald Williams Jr.


Poʻe Karitiano ʻOiaʻiʻo (True Christians)

8. SEPTEMBER 25 - Hōʻike ʻEhā (Presentation 4)

Dr. Ronald Williams Jr.


"I ka Wā Mamua, ka Wā Mahope" (The Future is in the Past)

 PART III. The Land 
Presenter: Donovan Preza

9. OCTOBER 2  - Hōʻike ʻEkahi (Presentation 1)

Donovan Preza

An Overview of the Great Mahele

View presentation slides:

"The Great Mahele: An Overview of the 3 Classes with Rights in Land"

10. OCTOBER 9 - Hōʻike ʻElua (Presentation 2)

Donovan Preza

Government Lands

11. OCTOBER 23 - Hōʻike ʻEkolu (Presentation 3)

Donovan Preza


Konohiki Lands—emphasis on the King's (Crown) Lands


12. OCTOBER 30 - Hōʻike ʻEhā (Presentation 4)

Donovan Preza

Kuleana Lands


Hosted by the Justice and Witness Missional Team in collaboration with the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches.

The views and methods of presenters and speakers belong to those individuals and do not necessarily represent the Hawai‘i Conference UCC.

bottom of page