Friday, May 13, 2016

The Original King Kamehameha Statue

The Original Statue of King Kamehameha

The story of the statue is interesting.  There are four copies of the statue: one in downtown Honolulu; another in Washington, D.C.; a 14-foot, five-ton statue in Hilo and the original statue in front of the old court house in Kapa'au in north Kohala. 

The sculptor Thomas Ridgeway Gould had a dry goods store in Boston Massachusetts.  After the Civil War, his business started to decline, and he lost his fortune.  In 1968 he moved to Florence, Italy to continue studying sculpting.  His marble statue "The West Wind" was exhibited at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.

The Hawaiian Legislature appropriated $10,000 for a statue of King K.  (That is about $260,000 in today's money.)  The sculpture that Thomas Ridgeway created was shipped to Paris, France to cast in Bronze.   Then the ship carrying that first bronze statue, the GF Haendel, sank off the coast of the Falkland Islands.  The statue was insured, so a second casting was ordered.  

The people on the Falkland Island recovered the first statue.  The captain of the wrecked ship found it in Port Stanley and purchased it for $500, then sold it back to Hawaii for $875, and shipped it to the Hawaiian Islands, where it was erected in Kapa'au. The second statue of Kamehameha now stands in downtown Honolulu.

The Hilo statue was originally destined for a resort in Princeville on Kauai.  The people of Kauai did not want the statue there, because the island of Kauai had never been "conquered" by Kamehameha.  The resort donated it to Hilo, on the island of Hawaii.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Kapakai Kokoiki - Birthplace of King Kamehameha

When we visited the Big Island a couple of years ago, I wanted to visit the birthplace of King Kamehameha.  Using Google Maps searching for the correct road, we drove to the south side on Coast Guard Road.  Respecting closed gates, this was a dead end.  Then on to the north side via Upolo Airport Road, we engaged Upolu Point Road.  This path was just too much for the low riding minivan.  In utter defeat we retreated, vowing to return (just like MacArthur).

With a new time upon us and new equipment available, we embarked on the path to eradicate the blemish on our record.  We re-visited the southern path and it was gated as before.  We new what we needed to do.  Back around to the north and down to the airport.  The pavement ended and the muddy route lay ahead.  Onward and sideward and thru the little ponds we drove, passing those that failed and were turning around.

It really wasn't that bad, just needed better ground clearance.  We did our best to avoid splashing the few hikers that were on the same quest.  As is typical of these islands, the drive along the coast was beautiful.

I don't know what I expected to see.  It was very different from the other old Hawaiian structures.  A squared off wall much like you would see in a fort.  I guess I thought it would be more like the remnants of a village, like the Lapakahi village in the state park.

We still need to return to visit the Mo'okini Heiau.