Task Force Proposed to Consider Creation of Queen Kaahumanu Monument in Hana
By Wendy Osher
The state legislature is considering two resolutions that seek the creation of a task force to consider the merits of creating a monument to Queen Kaahumanu in Hana, Maui.
Kaahumanu was born around 1770 to parents Keeaumoku and Namahana in a cave at Kauiki Hill in East Maui and was taken as an infant to the Kaniomoku Heiau. She served as kuhina nui or co ruler of the kingdom with Liholiho and then as a regent during Kauikeauoli’s reign.
The resolution states that although a statue of Queen Kaahumanu already exists at the Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului, “a monument to the Queen at or near Hana, Maui, the area of her birth, paying tribute to and memorializing her valued contributions to the Kingdom of Hawaii and the history of Hawaii, would be appropriate and would benefit our current residents and visitors alike.”
The resolutions urge the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to create the task force and request the inclusion of respected kupuna and representatives from appropriate Hawaiian organizations, such as the Royal Order of Kamehameha, the Ahahui Kaahumanu Society, the State Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Kamehameha Schools, Native Hawaiian Culture and Arts Program of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, and a representative from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Concurrent Resolutions SCR35 and HCR9 were introduced by Sen. Colleen Hanabusa and Rep. Calvin Say, and have since been referred to respective committees for review.
If the items are passed by the legislature this session, they call for the task force to consider the nature and precise location of a Queen Kaahumanu monument; and to submit their findings to the Legislature prior to next year’s session.
According to the resolution, Kaahumanu was considered the first and favorite wife and close advisor of Kamehameha I. She was described as a forceful person who exerted great impact, influence, and power during much of the Kingdom’s existence, as an advisor and co-leader. She played a key role in challenging the traditional kapu system and served as a catalyst and shaper of the evolving relationship between ancient Hawaii and the arrival of Christian beliefs, morals and spirituality.