Ka Ho‘omālamalama ‘Ana I Nā Hō‘ailona O Ka Mō‘ī Kalākaua A Me Kona Noho Ali‘i ‘Ana: Illuminating the American, International, and Hawai‘i Representations of David Kalākaua and His Reign, 1874-1891

Ing, Tiffany
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2015]
This dissertation examines the American, international, and Hawaiian representations of David La‘amea Kamanakapu Mahinulani Nalaiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalākaua in English- and Hawaiian-language newspapers, books, travelogues, and other materials published in the U. S., abroad, and in Hawai‘i during his reign as Hawai‘i’s mō‘ī (sovereign) from 1874 to 1891. This study begins with an overview of Kalākaua’s literary genealogy of misrepresentation, surveying the negative, even slanderous portraits of him that we have inherited from his enemies who first sought to curtail his authority as mō‘ī through such acts as the 1887 Bayonet Constitution and who then tried to justify their parts in overthrowing the Hawaiian kingdom in 1893 and annexing it to the U. S. in 1898. A close study of contemporary international and American newspaper accounts and other narratives about Kalākaua, many highly favorable, results in a more nuanced and wide-ranging characterization of the mō‘ī as a public figure. Most importantly, virtually none of the existing nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first century texts about Kalākaua consults contemporary Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) sentiment for him. This dissertation offers examples from the hundreds of nineteenth-century Hawaiian-language newspaper articles, mele (songs), and mo‘olelo (histories, stories) about the mō‘ī to restore some balance to our understanding of how he was viewed at the time—by his own people and the word. This dissertation shows that for those who did not have reasons for injuring or trivializing Kalākaua’s reputation as mō‘ī, he often appeared to be the antithesis of our inherited understanding. The mō‘ī struck many, and above all his own people, as an intelligent, eloquent, compassionate, and effective Hawaiian leader. An edition and translation of Joseph Mokuohai Poepoe’s biography of Kalākaua, perhaps the single most important source of contemporary information, appears as an appendix.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
David Kalākaua, Indigenous Literature, Hawaiian Literature, Life Writing
Access Rights
Email libraryada-l@lists.hawaii.edu if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.