In the Political Chess Game: The Last Queen

Copyright © 2011 Kai 'Opua Canoe Club
Copyright © 2011 Kai ‘Opua Canoe Club

In 1961 the film Blue Hawaii hit the screens. Since my mother was a huge Elvis Presley fan, she dragged us to see this film, shown just down the block from our house in the city.

Since then I have seen the film several times and each time I am impressed by the Edenic beauty of Hawaii. Of course, Hawaii-Five O and Magnum, PI would grace our small screens with the islands and their lure to come to paradise.

It would be in the early 90s when I first went to Hawaii. What was presented in the film and television programs faded in the actual reality of the beauty.

From Diamond Head to the Dole Pineapple Plantation there is nothing like being on an island surrounded by the Pacific. Watching the ships from Diamond Head with the breeze in our hair was paradise indeed.

The trek up to Diamond Head was arduous. Most things in life require an arduous trek.

At that time I knew little of the rich history of these islands. One can understand why Queen Liliuokalani wanted her people to control the islands rather than the foreign interests which laid claim to the islands’ vast natural resources, especially the sugar fields.

In the links below the story of this remarkable woman is briefly told. She was a song writer and wrote the beautiful Aloha ‘Oe.

Little did she know that this song, written as a love song between a man and woman she knew, would become the eulogy of the freedom of her people. She fought valiantly against the special interest, but in the end she lost the political chess game and would forever be remembered as the last Queen of Hawaii.

In the New Year do you find yourself in a herculean struggle against forces and special interests? Do you feel like a pawn in some master chess game?

Does your song of life seem silent? As you look out over the vastness of the ocean, what do you see? Sweet tranquility or brewing storms?

Life was never meant to be lived in struggle and hardship. Humans were designed for paradise. It’s in our genome.

Remember the words of this last Queen:

You are a flower of Paradise
That the morning breeze ever kindly greets

Embrace your song each morning. Allow the beauty of life to thrive in your daily walk regardless of the “sugar growers” and their machinations.

For indeed, you are the flower of a Paradise lost in the currents of time. Allow the morning breezes to touch you with their thrust and be energized.

G. D. Williams © 2016

POST 649

Queen Liliuokalani

Born Lydia Kamakaeha in Honolulu, Hawaii, on September 2, 1838, Liliuokalani was the daughter of a high-ranking chieftess who served as an adviser to King Kamehameha III. Liliuokalni was educated at the missionary-run Royal School, where she learned to speak fluent English and received some musical training. She would retain her interest in music and poetry, producing more than 160 songs over the course of her life, including the beloved “Aloha ‘Oe.” As a princess, Liliuokalani’s education also included travels to the Western world.

“Aloha ‘Oe.”

This was written by Queen Lili’uokalani (the last Hawaiian monarch) in 1878. Lili’uokalani intended this to be a love song but it ended up being a farewell song. It has since become a worldwide traditional classic farewell song. English lyrics were added in 1923 as well as an alternate title: “Farewell to Thee.”

In 1887, Crown Princess Liliuokalani and Kalakaua’s wife, Kapiolani, served as Hawaii’s representatives at Queen Victoria’s Crown Jubilee in London, where they were received by the queen herself as well as U.S. President Grover Cleveland. Also in 1887, an elite class of business owners (mainly white) forced Kalakaua to sign the so-called “Bayonet Constitution,” which limited the power of the monarchy in Hawaii. Liliuokalani opposed this constitution, as well as the Reciprocity Treaty, by which Kalakaua had granted commercial privileges to the United States, along with control over Pearl Harbor. This stance lost the future queen the support of foreign businessmen (known as haole) before she even took the throne.

When Kalakaua died in early 1891, Liliuokalani succeeded him, becoming the first woman ever to rule Hawaii. As queen, she acted to implement a new constitution that would restore the powers lost to the monarchy through the Bayonet Constitution. In January 1893, a group of American and European businessmen, with the support of U.S. Minister John Stevens and a contingent of U.S. Marines, staged a coup to depose the queen. Liliuokalani surrendered, with hopes of appealing to President Cleveland to reinstate her.

On January 16, 1893, four boatloads of United States Marines armed with Gatling guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition came ashore in Honolulu, capital of the independent Kingdom of Hawaii. As the Royal Hawaiian band played a concert at the Hawaiian Hotel, 162 troops marched through the streets of Honolulu, heading for the palace. The Queen of Hawaii, Lili’uokalani, looked down from her balcony as the troops took up their positions.

The following day, she surrendered at gunpoint, yielding her throne to the government of the United States. A provisional government led by wealthy white sugar growers assumed control of Hawaii and petitioned the US for annexation.

Kai ‘Opua Canoe Club

Formed in 1929, Kai ‘Opua Canoe Club is one of the oldest outrigger canoe clubs in the State of Hawaii. Located in Kailua town on the Kona Coast of Hawaii Island (The Big Island), Kai ‘Opua Canoe Club offers outrigger canoe racing to people of all ages, from keiki (children) to seniors. With teams ranging in ability from groups of novices to world champions, we provide activities for enthusiasts of all levels.