Prince Kuhio Park, located on Lawai Road on the south shore of Kauai, was
established in 1924 on land donated by McBryde Sugar Co. to an organization now known as
Royal Order of
Kamehameha I which maintains it. The property is culturally significant and an ancient
Heiau is located at the back of the property. The park also honors the birthplace of
Crescent Shaped Rock Wall and Saltwater Fishpond at Prince Kuhio Park
An ancient saltwater fishpond (seen in the upper right of the above photo) once
supported the heiau located at the back of Prince Kuhio Park. Originally, Lawai Road made a broad inland turn following the rock wall to skirt the pond and the channel feeding it. When the road
was improved, a culvert was added to bridge the channel, allowing the road to be
straightened. Seawater still circulates under the road to the fishpond and its level
fluctuates with the tide. Fish are free to come and go as they like.
A Lava Rock Guard Station Protected the Fish from Poaching
An ancient guard station next to the fishpond was once used to prevent people from
stealing fish from the pond that were there for the benefit of those at the heiau.
Kuhio Kalaniana`ole Piikoi (Prince Kuhio) was born March 26, 1871, the third son of the
royal union of Queen Ka-pi`o-lani's sister, Esther Kino`iki Ke-kaulike and David
Ka-hale-pouli Pi`ikoi. He was great grandson of King Kaumualii, the last king of Kauai.
Jonah and his brother David were adopted into the childless royal family and were
each given the title of prince. They were crown bearers at the coronation of Ka-la-kaua.
Their eldest brother Edward died in his teens. Prince Jonah Kuhio was educated in
California and England. He also spent time in Japan.
Primarily due to the growing sugarcane industry which was dominated by American and
European businessmen, the 1800s saw Hawaii's economy become more and more entwined with
that of the United States. Beginning in 1849 the two countries began entering treaties to
help define their relations. Economic and political pressures eventually led to the
controversial annexation of Hawaii by the U.S. in 1889.
In 1893 when Jonah was 22, the Hawaiian Monarchy was overthrown and his aunt, Queen
Liliuokalani was put under house arrest. Young Prince Kuhio joined the revolutionaries
which were trying to restore the monarchy. As a result, he was arrested, charged with
treason, and imprisoned for a year. He was eventually pardoned when the Queen abdicated her
throne to win his release along with the release of other jailed supporters including,
Minister Joseph Nawahi, Prince David Kawananakoa (Jonah's brother), and Robert Wilcox. In
1896, Prince Jonah Kuhio married Elizabeth Kahanu Kaauwai who was the daughter of a Maui
chief. In protest of the revolution and the unfair treatment of the Hawaiian people, he and
his bride left Hawaii and spent time traveling in Europe and South America where they were
treated as visiting royalty. He also traveled to Africa where he joined the British army to
fight in the Second Boer War.
In 1901, Kuhio returned from his self-imposed exile to take part in post-annexation
politics where he continued to fight for Hawaiian independence as part of the radical
Home Rule Party of Hawaii. His brother David led the Democratic Party. Within a
short time, Kuhio switched parties and joined the Republicans (which represented some of
the same businessmen responsible for the overthrow of the Monarchy.) Happy to have him, the
Republicans gave him a strong leadership position.
Kuhio was elected in 1902 as Hawaii Delegate to the U.S. Congress in a landslide
victory. Eventually winning a total of 10 elections, he served from 1903 until his death in 1922.
Prince Kuhio reorganized the Royal Order of Ka-mehameha I and also founded the first
Hawaiian Civic Club. Kuhio was instrumental in establishing Hawaiian canoe racing as an
In 1919, Kuhio introduced in Congress the first Hawaii Statehood Act. 40 years
later, in August of 1959, Hawaii became the 50th State.
Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana`ole died January 7, 1922 in Honolulu. He was the last
person given a state funeral befitting an ali`i (king). He is buried in the Royal Mausoleum
in Nu`u-anu, Oahu. In 1949, Hawaii recognized March 26 as Kuhio Day, a state holiday
honoring Prince Kuhio.
Monument Commemorating the Birthplace of Prince Kuhio
The monument to Prince Kuhio was unveiled at a dedication in June of 1928 with
approximately 10,000 attending. Hundreds of notables and members of the "Order" attended in
full regalia of yellow "mahiole" and yellow and red "ahu ula." Many members of the Aha Hui
O Kaahumanu were present with their black muumuus and yellow feather leis.
Prince Kuhio Park is an interesting diversion on the south shore. Please be
respectful of the heiau and rock structures on the property. The caretakers will share
information with you about the park and answer any questions you have. There are several
condominium projects located next to the park including Kuhio Shores and Prince Kuhio Condos.
Pictures and Comments By Doug Porter