photo: King Kamehameha IV of Hawaii

Ali‘i Sunday – Commemoration of King Kamehameha IV

Sunday, February 11, 2018
St. Andrew’s Cathedral
8:00 am Ka ‘Eukalikia Hemolele (Holy Eucharist in Hawaiian)

Sunday, February 11, 2018, ‘Iolani Guild, The Rev. Cn. R. K. “Moki” Hino, and the Congregation of the Cathedral of St. Andrew will host the One Hundred Eighty Fourth (184th) birthday of Alexander Liholiho ‘Iolani – Kamehameha IV. The Service, 8:00 am Holy Eucharist with Hawaiian Choir welcome you to the Commemoration of King Kamehameha IV.

Alexander Liholiho Iolani was born February 9, 1834 on the island of Oahu. He is the grandson of King Kamehameha I. His mother, Kinau, a daughter of King Kamehameha, was Kuhina Nui or Prime Minister Kingdom of Hawai‘i. His father was Mataio Kekuanaoa, Governor of Hawai‘i. Alexander Liholiho was adopted by his Uncle, King Kamehameha III, and he, by law made Alexander heir to the throne.

Alexander and the children of the Ali‘i were educated at the Chief Children’s School by Protestant Missionaries Mr. and Mrs. Amos Cooke. Alexander, scholarly and resourceful, was hallmarks to his contributions to the United Kingdom of Hawai‘i. At age thirteen years, Alexander, fluent in Hawaiian and English languages, translated land deeds from Hawaiian to English and at age 14 translated news articles for the newspaper from English to the Hawaiian Language.

In preparing Alexander for the Throne, the advisors to King Kamehameha III recommended that Alexander Liholiho and his Brother Lot would benefit from extensive travels outside of Hawai‘i. Under the supervision of Dr. Gerritt P. Judd, he sailed to California, Panama, Jamaica, New York and Washington D.C. They toured Europe and met various Heads of State. Upon Alexander’s return, his global tours provided views that would affect his administrative decisions as Hawai‘i’s Monarch.

Sadly, his uncle, King Kamehameha III died on December 1854. On January 11, 1855, Alexander Liholiho was installed King Kamehameha IV. He was only 20 years of age. He carried a heavy responsibility for King Kamehameha III, by delivering at his Inaugural address:

“Give ear Hawai‘i O Keawe! Maui O Kama! Oahu O Kakuhihewa! Kauai O Mano! The good, generous Kamehameha is no more. Our great Chief has fallen, but he lives in the hearts of people. He was the Father of his people. As long as a Hawaiian lives, his memory will be cherished.”

Alexander’s training to be the King of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i provided his confidence to reign and to make decisions.

As his first act as King, Alexander desired to stop all negotiations with the United States regarding Annexation. Alexander desired no part of the United States. Why? It may be because he was treated unfavorably when asked to leave the train cabin by the Conductor because of his dark complexion. He indeed wanted no part in annexation to the United States. He however, wanted to negotiate a Reciprocity Treaty that would guarantee free trade between the United States. The treaty would allow Hawai‘i to send goods, without being taxed. This was an example of his leadership, even at the young age of 20 years.

In 1856, King Kamehameha IV married Emma Rooke. They had a son, Prince Albert. Both King Kamehameha and Queen Emma worked tirelessly for Hawai‘i. Their legacy includes: Queens Hospital, The Cathedral of St. Andrew, ‘Iolani School, and St. Andrews Priory School.

King Kamehameha IV reigned for 9 years. Sadly, he died from illness at age 29. We celebrate our King and the contributions he made for Hawaii. Imua Kamehameha!