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Kalanikahua Hou Church celebrates Lā Kūʻokoʻa

Written by James Aarona, Kahu, Kalanikahua Hou Church


Ka Lā Kūʻokoʻa — In 1842, Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III, sent emissaries Timoteo Haʻalilio, Rev. William Richards, and Lord George Simpson to establish diplomatic relations with the world countries. The fruits of their labor was Lā Kūʻokoʻa, the Day of Independence for the Hawaiian Kingdom for on November 28, 1843 the Anglo-French Proclamation was signed, recognizing Hawaii as a sovereign nation among the world powers. The United States formally recognized Hawaiian independence on July 6, 1844.

Banner reading "La Ku‘oko‘a" stands in front of Kalanikahua Church in Haiku, Maui. Hawaiian flags wave over the front yard. Dozens of signs propped in the ground read names and "no treaty of annexation."
View of Kalanikahua Hou Church from Hana Highway on November 28.

Kalanikahua Hou is on Hana Highway adjacent to the Haiku Community Center. The original church was located about 1 mile away and was called Kalanikahua. There is a street named Kalanikahua on Haiku Road and I assume the church was there. A land exchange was made with the Baldwin family in 1914.

It is believed historically, that Kalanikahua may have been one of the last places to celebrate Lā Kūʻokoʻa in 1902 even though the overthrow occurred in 1893. Because more of the Hawaiian community became aware of the significance of Lā Kūʻokoʻa, the church members decided that Kalanikahua Hou church will honor and celebrate Lā Kūʻokoʻa November 28, 2019 and every year thereafter. This past Sunday was the 3rd celebration at a special 1:00 pm service.

The 2019 all day celebration began with a service in the Halepule at 9:00 in the morning then we re-located to the Haiku Community Center to listen to Dr. Ronald Williams and Kumu Kaleikoa Kaeo speak on the history of Ka Lā Kūʻokoʻa. Special outdoor crafts and game activities were provided for the keiki and opio and the celebration concluded with a luʻau. About 275 people attended the festivities.


This Sunday's 1:00 service included a brief discussion on the significance of the aliʻi in pursuing recognition of Hawaiian Independence beginning with Kamehameha I, his sons Liholiho and Kauikeaouli and Queen Kaʻahumanu, The Kuhina Nui. On December 23, 1826, Kaʻahumanu signed a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with the United States. Known as the Jones Treaty, this was the first treaty that the Kingdom of Hawaii signed with a foreign government. Although the US Senate did not ratify the agreement, both countries did comply with the treaty.

Timoteo Haʻaliloʻs great love for his God, mother, country and his king was also highlighted. At the age of eight he became the playmate to Kauikeauoli who was six years younger. He was the princesʻ confidante and constant companion, a relationship that endured thru his short life. He was educated by Rev. Hiram and Sybil Bingham and was held in great esteem with-in both the Hawaiian and foreign community. It was thru the Kingʻs wish that he left Hawaii and traveled to the United States and Europe. His faith and his love for Hawaii and his mother carried him thru those difficult times for he had a premonition that he would not live to return to his home. He died Dec. 3 1844 on the journey back to Hawaii. His letter to his mother written in 1843 from London was read. It spoke of his love for her and thanked her for her letters that only encouraged him to fulfill his mission although he longed to return home to see her and his beloved homeland.

The service concluded with the play “Ka Lei Maile Aliʻi - The Queenʻs Women, based upon a newspaper article printed in The San Francisco Call written by Reporter Miriam Michelson, September 22, 1897. The play was directed by Joyclynn Costa, the Church moderator.

We sang himeni the Queenʻs Prayer, Hawaiʻi Ponoʻi, He Mele Lahui Hawaiʻi and a song composed by Makua Laiana, Rev. Lorenzo Lyons No Ka Lā Kūʻokoʻa written in 1871.


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