New state holiday proposed

  • West Hawaii Today file photo Flags are mounted on vehicles July 31, 2015, at Puukohola Heiau during Hawaiian Flag Day.

HILO — A holiday that originated in the Hawaiian Kingdom could be making a comeback.

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs voted in favor of a bill to make La Ku‘oko‘a — Hawaiian Recognition Day — a state holiday in place of Presidents Day. SB 1451 will next be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.


According to the bill, sponsored by each of the state’s 25 senators, the holiday was first celebrated in 1847 after global powers of the time recognized the kingdom as part of the family of nations.

“The celebration grew under the reign of King Kalakaua,” the bill states, “with formal proclamations sent by official circular to the foreign diplomatic corps in Hawaii and the Hawaiian Kingdom consuls abroad, informing them of the holiday.”

Its observation continued after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893 and into the early territorial years, the bill says.

The holiday would be observed on Nov. 28, making it the third state-recognized holiday of the month after Thanksgiving and Veterans Day. However, the number of recognized holidays would stay at 13 each year, as Presidents Day would be removed from the list.

Most, but not all, states recognize Presidents Day as an official holiday or celebrate it as George Washington’s birthday, according to the National Constitution Center.

The bill received testimony in favor from several Hawaiian organizations.

In its testimony, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs said that La Ku‘oko‘a commemorates the day Great Britain and France recognized the kingdom as an independent nation.

“With this recognition, the Hawaiian Kingdom entered into treaties and engaged in foreign diplomacy with the major nations of the world,” OHA says.

The state agency says the holiday is a source of pride for many Native Hawaiians, and its recognition has grown substantially.

“As La Kuʻokoʻa has begun to re-gain its prestige, with organizations holding celebrations on November 28 across the islands, it is appropriate and timely for the state itself to formally recognize the unique historic and political significance of this day to all who call Hawaii home,” OHA wrote.


The Hawaii County Council passed a nonbinding resolution recognizing La Ku‘oko‘a in 2015. Proponents referred to it then as Hawaiian independence day.

Email Tom Callis at

  1. Ken Conklin February 7, 2019 6:53 am

    Here is the beginning of the testimony I submitted on this bill, SB 1451 My complete testimony including the proof of what’s said in the opening portion, is on the legislature’s website if you look at the “status” of SB 1451.


    It is both funny and sad to see that so many legislators have signed their names in support of this bill, which is deceptively named and would be bad policy. Pandering to anti-American secessionists is a very bad idea. This bill is not about memorializing a success of diplomacy from 1843, it’s about supporting a highly divisive cult of activists who want to enlist you as a partisan in an ideological civil war which threatens to rip the 50th star off our flag.

    Maybe you’ll step away from this bill when you see how your predecessors in the 2007 legislature were lied to and fooled by the same gang now pushing this bill, and then those legislators were justly ridiculed for their pandering.

    The following points are proved in detail later in this testimony. Please take the time to read the details.

    1. The word “ku’oko’a” does NOT mean “recognition” — it means “independence”. Look it up in the dictionary. Also apply, to two other bills, this lesson on how easy it is to fool you legislators about the meaning of Hawaiian words — I refer to SB195 and SB642, which would make it law that if a bill “was originally drafted in Hawaiian and the English version was translated based on the Hawaiian version, the Hawaiian version shall be held binding.”

    2. Look at the reasons openly stated for why Hawaiian independence activists have pushed to revive this holiday. They want the “fake- state” legislature to go on record that Hawaii has always been AND REMAINS an independent nation, or should be re-established as such. If you agree with that agenda then you should resign from the legislature of the STATE of Hawaii, which you have sworn an oath to support and defend.

    3. The legislature was badly burned in 2007 when every Democrat voted in favor of officially creating a new permanent holiday every April 30, to be called “Hawaiian Restoration Day.” Please note that the perennial April 30 holiday solemnly enacted by the 2007 legislature is not included in the list of holidays in Section 2 of today’s bill. Why not? When you read item #4, you’ll discover that what you should do is to add the now-official holiday of April 30 to the list in Section 2 WITH A LINE THROUGH THE NAME AND DATE TO INDICATE THAT THIS BILL IS REPEALING IT just as this bill proposes to do with Presidents’ Day.

    4. Some of the same people who push today’s bill were also pushers of the 2007 bill, knowingly telling falsehoods that President Grover Cleveland had proclaimed April 30 to be a U.S. holiday of fasting and repentance for the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. You can see for yourselves a 4-page flyer that makes a laughing stock of the legislature for falling for that absurdity, especially after being presented with proof that President Cleveland’s alleged proclamation was actually an April Fools [not April 30] satire against Cleveland published as an editorial in an anti-Cleveland newspaper and that the resolution’s authors were aware of that fact. Maybe they couldn’t imagine that a “reverend” would knowingly and cunningly tell a lie for a political purpose. A webpage provides further details about the actual newspaper editorial, and about the fact that the pushers of the resolution knew their testimony was false.

  2. diverdave February 7, 2019 7:14 am

    Well the 4th of July is an American holiday that commemorates the Revolution
    against another Monarchy. Perhaps we should celebrate more holidays
    that commemorate Hawaii. We could have “Massacre Day” where we reenact
    the slaughter of the Ohauans by Kamehameha I with his guns and cannon,
    and finalizing the day with the throwing of hundreds of innocent beaten
    Oahuans off the pali in order to steal the island for himself.
    Maybe a day called “No more Idol Worship Day” where we commemorate the
    burning of all idols and mythical gods as ordered by Kamehameha II,
    (maybe sort of a “Burning Man” thing with bonfires around the State).

    We could have a “Great Mahele Day” celebrating the day Kamehameha III,
    “The Great Capitalist”, forever changed the islands from a tributary and
    communal exchange system of production and distribution to wage labor,
    private ownership of land, and an exchange economy based on money—in
    short capitalism.

    We could have a holiday based on Kamehameha IV’s
    first speech to a joint session of the legislature calling for English
    to be spoken in the Islands!
    Maybe even a “Sell the Kingdom Day”
    were we commemorate the vast area of island lands sold for personal
    enrichment by the Kings, like Niihau, and Lanai for example.

    We could have a “Opium Day” were we could recognize King Kalakaua’s being
    caught taking bribes from Chinese business men in order to obtain
    permits to sell opium.
    Or, how about a “Break the Treasury Day’ were
    we celebrate Kalakaua’s wild spending sprees and under handed business
    deals like his coinage fraud scandal?

    Oh, this “Holiday” thing could get quite fun. I think we have stumbled on to something her!

  3. KonaDude February 7, 2019 10:32 am

    This is just a jab at Trump, if dems take back the office next term they will want Presidents days back(.Y.) It will eventually turn into another paid holiday for government workers(.Y.)

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