Saturday, July 10, 2010

One of our first stops on the Big Island was to see the statue of Kamehameha I. We have the twin of this statue in Honolulu.


In 1878, a statue of King Kamehameha I was commissioned to commemorate the discovery of Hawaii by Captain James Cook. A sculptor in Italy created this statue which was supposed to be displayed on Oahu. On it's way here, the ship wrecked somewhere around the Falkland Islands and a new statue had to be commissioned.

Before the second statue was completed, the first statue was salvaged, sold to a member of the Hawaiian government and was sent to the Big Island to mark the birthplace of King Kamehameha I.

The statue on the Big Island was painted with the brighter red and yellow colors while the statue on Oahu has a golden color for the clothing. Our guide told us there was a lot of uproar over whether or not to paint it. There are also issues because the sculptor who created the statues ignored the photos of Polynesians which were sent to him and gave the statue Roman facial features as well as a Romanesque stance of the spear, cape, and gesturing hand.

A third statue was commissioned when Hawaii became a state. It stood in Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol until Obama became president and then it was moved to a more prominent position in the Capitol's new visitor's center.

A fourth statue was commissioned for a resort in Kauai, but the people of Kauai did not want a statue of King Kamehameha as they were the only island not physically conquered by Kamehameha I. The ruler of Kauai decided to prevent further bloodshed by simply joining Kamehameha and becoming a vassal to the king.

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