Ka Ho'oilina Mo'i ("Pa'u Riders / The Crown Princess")
Ka Ho‘oilina Mö‘ï
(The Crown Princess)
166th from the series: ‘Ike Ho‘omaopopo by artist: LeoHone
The young and beautiful Crown Princess of Hawai’i... a short, thin cry in a long night of weeping, a flag fallen...
The Princess Ka‘iulani was born on O’ahu in 1865 to Princess Likelike, sister of Queen Lili‘uokalani and King Kaläkaua. She was named for her aunt Anna Ka‘iulani (Ka‘iulani: “highest point of Heaven) and for Queen Victoria of England. Just as her namesake Anna Ka‘iulani who died young, Princess Ka‘iulani was sadly called from this world in 1899 when she was merely twenty-three.
Victoria Ka‘iulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawëkiu i Lunalilo Cleghorn from the House of Kaläkaua was heir to the Hawaiian throne. She left Hawai‘i in 1889 at the age of 13 to study in England; not only beautiful, Hawaii’s Crown Princess became fluent in four languages and exhibited considerable talent as a painter.
Four years later in 1893, the Crown Princess heard the news of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and imprisonment of her aunt, Queen Lili’uokalani, and the now seventeen year old Princess Ka‘iulani issued
this statement to the press in England:
“Four years ago, at the request of Mr. Thurston (Lorrin A. Thurston who was touring the country to promote annexation), then a Hawaiian Cabinet Minister, I was sent away to England to be educated privately and in exile striven to fit myselffor my return this year to my native country. I am now told that Mr. Thurston will be in Washington asking you to take away my flag and my throne. No one tells me even this officially. Have I done anything wrong that this wrong should be done to me and my people? I am coming to Washington to plead for my throne, my nation, and my flag. Will notthe great American people hear me?” 1
The princess took on an immediate involvement in the politics of her people by returning from England to America to further her aunt’s cause to call the new government to accountability, to restore the monarchy.
Upon arrival, she addressed the press as follows:
“Seventy years ago, Christian America sent over Christian men and women to give religion and civilization to Hawai‘i. Today, three of the sons of those missionaries are at your capitol asking you to undo their fathers’ work. Who sent them? Who gave them the authority to break the Constitution which they swore they would uphold? Today, I, a poorweak girl with not one of my people with me and all these ‘Hawaiian’ statesmen against me, have strength to stand upfor the rights of my people. Even now I can hear their wail in my heart and it gives me strength and courage and I amstrong – strong in the faith of God, strong in the knowledge that I am right, strong in the strength of seventy millionpeople who in this free land will hear my cry and will refuse to let their flag cover dishonor to mine!” 2
The Crown Princess then went to see President Grover Cleveland at the White House. Her plight and that of the Hawaiian people deeply touched the heart of the president; when he brought Ka‘iulani’s case to
Congress, the Senate didn’t go ahead with the Annexation. However, it refused to restore the monarch and the princess was once more very disillusioned. Four years later in 1898 when the Annexation did come
through, Princess Ka‘iulani told the San Francisco Chronicle:
“It was bad enough to lose the throne, but infinitely worse to have the flag go down...” 3
Ka‘iulani ... one sharp, strangled cry in the long night... and gone... ‘o ka malila pua möhala a Hawai’i nei...
“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower there offalleth away...” 4 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” 5”
1 Hawaii Journal of History – Hawaiian Historical Society 33: pp21-54;
2 Women in history of Scots descent web site. Http://www.electricscotland.com/history’women/wh36.htm;
3 Hawaii’s Own: A Look at a century of annexation” Michael Tighe http://www.hawaiination.org-own1.html;
4 Bible KJV 1 Peter Chapter 1 verse 24 ;
5 Bible KJV James Chapter 4 verse 14
*Physical setting: The mists of Hilo, in the mid-morning. As I stood watching the parade from under my umbrella, I was captivated by the wet reflections. Tired and dusty pavement was now resplendent with sparkling, glorious color! Every life experiences rain from time to time; the very rain that besets us throughout our lives can reveal and reflect a deeper beauty! Because of her passion for horseback riding and her history as a Pä‘ü rider, I chose to portray Hawai’i’s Crown Princess on horseback, ‘ilima lei around her neck, the color of O’ahu. It was after a ride in a storm that she contracted a fever and continued to decline until she died... a beautiful, courageous young princess too young to die... remembered with love by her people. Pä‘ü riders are frequently seen in today’s parades, the longtime tradition originating from female riders of yesteryear with their long flowing, colorful riding skirts (pä‘ü). – Leohone