“Ka Hale Kaulei:”Nawahī’s “Lei Stand” Speech

#184 in the Moʻolelo series

Two days before the provisional government declared itself the Republic of Hawaii — they chose July 4th, 1894 — on July 2nd, between 5,000 and 7,000 Hawaiians met at a “hālāwai makaʻāinana nui,” a mass meeting at Palace Square to “express their disagreement with the Republic’s formation, and to approve a resolution drafted by the officers of the Hui Aloha ʻĀina to be submitted to the new US minister, Albert Willis.
Joseph Nawahī wearing the Order of Kalākaua (source: By Unknown author – Page xxiv Ka puke moʻolelo o Hon. Iosepa K. Nāwahī, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41443615. accessed at wikimedia commons)
Joseph Nāwahī made his famous “lei stand” speech at this meeting, in which he said:

No kakou ka Hale e like me ka na Kamehameha i kukulu ai. Ua kipaku ia ae kakou e ka poe i aea hele mai, a komo i loko o ko kakou hale; a ke olelo mai nei ia kakou, e komo aku a e noho i loko o ka hale kaulei a lakou i manao ai e kukulu iho a onou aku ia kakou a pau e komo aku. O kaʻu hoi e olelo aku nei ia oukou e oʻu mau hoa makaainana, mai noho kakou a ae iki.

The house of government belongs to us, as the Kamehamehas built it. We have been ousted by trespassers who entered our house and who are telling us to go and live in a lei stand that they think to build and force us all into. I am telling you, my fellow citizens, we should not agree in the least.

Silva, 2004, 137

When Nawahī died in 1896, Liliʻuokalani remarked that “this was a great blow to the people … He had always been a man who fearlessly advocated the independence of Hawaii nei” (Silva, 2004, 142).

Leave a comment

Filed under Education

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s