HILO, Hawaii – The Hawaii County Council Committee on Governmental Relations and Economic Development took up a rare discussion on Hawaiian sovereignty in Hilo on Tuesday. Puna Councilman Danny Paleka introduced a resolution requesting the Hawaii state legislature designate July 31st as Lā Ho‘iho‘i Ea, recognizing the day independence was restored to the Kingdom of Hawai‘i in 1843 following a taking by the British Royal Navy.
From the “whereas” section of Resolution 185-15:
WHEREAS, La Ho‘iho‘i Ea translates to Restoration Day, which marks the day that independence was restored to the Hawaiian Kingdom on July 31, 1843, after being seized and forcefully taken by Lord George Paulet, a captain of the British Royal Navy’s HMS Carysfort; and
WHEREAS, July 31 commemorates the day that Admiral Richard Darton Thomas of the British Royal Navy ordered the Union Jack (Union Flag) to be removed and replaced with the Hawaiian flag, ending over five months of unauthorized military occupation; and
WHEREAS, the County of Hawai‘i recognizes that there is a need to honor, support, and cherish this significant day in Hawai‘i’s history; and
WHEREAS, Chapter 8, Holidays, of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes designates certain days for the purpose of celebration, honor, remembrance, public education, and awareness; and
WHEREAS, July 31 should be known and designated as “La Ho‘iho‘i Ea” in recognition of the day independence was restored to the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, provided this day is not and shall not be construed to be a State holiday; now, therefore,
The measure drew lots of testimony from subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom. The discussion also hit home for some councilmembers who have deep roots on the island.
The entire council voted to pass the resolution, which will go to the full council for a vote in the next few weeks.