Blogs

Hawaii’s Official State Flower and Official Island Emblems

Recently I was staying in my Princeville Vacation Rental when I noticed just outside my window was a beautiful yellow hibiscus flower. I then recalled that before there was even a Hawaii State Flower, the hibiscus was named the official flower of the Territory of Hawaii by the Legislature in 1923. They didn’t specify any particular one of the many varieties of the hibiscus, however, and this led to some confusion.

The various colors and types of hibiscus (including numerous introduced species) were said by some to represent the Hawaiian Islands’ unique ethnic mix.

Eventually many considered the native red hibiscus or the red Chinese species to be the Hawaii State Flower. Hawaii’s State Legislature clarified the issue in 1988 when it named the native yellow hibiscus to be the official state flower. The Hawaiian name for the yellow hibiscus is pua mao hau hele.

The History of Waikiki

As I look down upon Kalakaua Avenue from my Oahu Hotel and take in the wonders of the world’s most famous beach resort area, I wonder about the history of Waikiki.

Seeing all of the high end shops and the many hundreds of people sunning on the beach and the swimmers and surfers offshore, it is hard to believe that this area was the site of the 1795 landing of Kamehameha the Great’s war canoes during his last military conquest. Having already conquered Hawaii Island, Maui, Lanai, and Molokai, King Kamehameha landed a huge fleet of war canoes on Oahu’s south shore from Waikiki to Waialae, totaling an estimated 960 canoes, 20 foreign ships, and 16,000 fighters, many trained in modern musketry.

Kamehameha’s warriors advanced over the plains as they battled about 9,000 warriors of Oahu’s Chief, Kalanikupule. After the fighting moved toward the uplands it ended with the Battle of Nuuanu. The troops of Kamehameha were able to drive the enemy up toward Nuuanu Pali. There some of Kalanikupule’s warriors were able to escape over the valley’s ridges while others made it down a trail at the end of the cliff. Many either jumped or were driven over the edge of the cliffs of Nuuanu Pali.

Hawaiian Statehood – How Hawaii Became Part of the United States

When I travel around the Hawaiian Islands or when I am just enjoying the scenery from the lanai of my Oahu Vacation Rental, I often appreciate the fact that even though I am in a tropical paradise I am still in the United States. This got me thinking about how Hawaii came to be a state and how lucky we all are that Hawaii became a part of the United States.

The Hawaiian Statehood movement began to grow after World War II ended in 1945. This was a time when economic, social, and political life in Hawai’i was being dominated by Republican (Caucasian) corporate interests led by major sugar and trading firms such as the powerful “Big Five”: American Factors, Theo H. Davies; C. Brewer & Co.; Alexander & Baldwin; and finally Castle & Cooke.

A constitutional convention convened on April 4, 1950. The purpose of this convention was to create a state constitution to present to the United States Congress, and a draft document was created in October of 1950 which was approved by Hawaii’s Legislature. The measure was put the voters in a general election in November of 1950, and then ratified by a 3-1 margin.