Saint Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the “Apostle of Ireland”, he is the primary patron saint of the island.
Legend credits St. Patrick with teaching the Irish about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, using it to illustrate the Christian teaching of three persons (the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit) in one God. (Shamrocks are a central symbol for St Patrick’s Day.) St Patrick is also credited with ridding Ireland of snakes, chasing them into the sea.
St. Patrick features in many stories in the Irish oral tradition and there are many customs connected with his feast day. March 17, popularly known as St. Patrick’s Day, is believed to be his death date and is the date celebrated as his feast day.
St. Patrick has never been formally canonized by a Pope; nevertheless, various Christian churches declare that he is a Saint in Heaven (he is included in the List of Saints.)
So, today, we celebrate the death of St Patrick; we also celebrate the “birth” of Kauikeaouli.
On the night of his birth, the chiefs gathered about the mother. Early in the morning the child was born but as it appeared to be stillborn.
Then came Kaikioʻewa from some miles away, close to Kuamoʻo, and brought with him his prophet (Kamaloʻihi or Kapihe) who said, “The child will not die, he will live.”
The child was well cleaned and laid upon a consecrated place and the seer (kaula) took a fan (peʻahi), fanned the child, prayed, and sprinkled him with water, at the same time reciting a prayer.
The child began to move, then to make sounds and at last he came to life. The seer gave the boy the name of “The red trail” (Keaweaweʻula) signifying the roadway by which the god descends from the heavens. The name Kauikeaouli means “placed in the dark clouds.”
Kauikeaouli was the second son of Keōpūolani by Kamehameha, and she called him Kīwalaʻo after her own father. She was the daughter of Kiwalaʻo and Kekuʻiapoiwa Liliha, both children of Kalola and hence Keōpūolani was a niʻaupiʻo and a naha chiefess, and the niʻaupiʻo rank descended to her children and could not be lost by them. (Kamakau)
Kauikeaouli was only nine years old when his older brother Liholiho sailed to England; Liholiho died on that trip, leaving Kauikeaouli successor to the rule over Hawaiʻi. As he was then too young to assume command, affairs were administered by his guardians, Kaʻahumanu and Kalanimōku, and the other chiefs under them.
We more commonly reference Kauikeaouli as Kamehameha III. He was the longest reigning Hawaiian monarch, serving 29-years, from 1825 to 1854.
There is scarcely in history, ancient or modem, any King to whom so many public reforms and benefits can be ascribed, as the achievements of his reign. Yet what King has had to contend with so many difficulties as King Kamehameha III? (The Polynesian, 1855)
“That the existence of the King, chiefs and the natives, can only be preserved by having a government efficient for the administration of enlightened justice, both to natives and the subjects of foreign powers residing in the islands, and that chiefly through missionary efforts the natives have made such progress in education and knowledge, as to justify the belief that by further training, they may be rendered capable of conducting efficiently the affairs of government; but that they are not at present so far advanced.” (Kamehameha IV, in Obituary to his hānai father)
In private life, Kamehameha III was mild, kind, affable, generous and forgiving. He was never more happy than when free from the cares and trappings of state. He could enjoy himself sociably with his friends, who were much attached to him. (The Polynesian, 1855)
Having associated much, while a boy, with foreigners, he continued to the last to be fond of their company. Without his personal influence, the law to allow them to hold lands in fee simple could never have been enacted. (The Polynesian, 1855)
It is hardly possible to conceive any King more generally beloved than was Kamehameha III; more universally obeyed, or more completely sovereign in the essential respect of independent sovereignty, that of governing his subjects free from any influence or control coming from beyond the limits of his own jurisdiction. (The Polynesian, 1855)
Under his leadership, Hawaiʻi changed from an isolated island kingdom to a recognized member of the modem world. Many of the things he did as king still influence life in Hawaiʻi today. (Kamehameha Schools Press)
The following are only some of the many accomplishments of Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli:)
- On June 6, 1825, Kauikeaouli was proclaimed king of Hawaiʻi. To the people he said, “Where are you, chiefs, guardians, commoners? I greet you. Hear what I say! My kingdom I give to God. The righteous chief shall be my chief, the children of the commoners who do you right shall be my people, my kingdom shall be one of letters.” (Kamakau – Kamehameha Schools Press)
- June 7, 1839, he signed the Declaration of Rights (called Hawai‘i’s Magna Charta) that, in part, noted, “God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the earth, in unity and blessedness. God has also bestowed certain rights alike on all men and all chiefs, and all people of all lands.”
- June 17, 1839 he issued the Edict of Toleration permitting religious freedom for Catholics in the same way as it had been granted to the Protestants.
- June 28, 1839 he founded Chief’s Children’s School (The Royal School;) the main goal of this school was to groom the next generation of the highest ranking chiefs’ children of the realm and secure their positions for Hawaiʻi’s Kingdom. (He selected missionaries Amos and Juliette Cooke to teach the 16 royal children and run the school.)
- October 8, 1840 (the King was about 27-years-old) he enacted the Constitution of 1840 that, in part, changed the government from one of an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. It provided for a separation of powers between three branches of government, with executive power in the hands of the king, the kuhina nui (similar to a prime minister) and four governors; a bicameral legislative body consisting of a house of nobles and a house of representatives, with the house of representatives elected by the people; and a judiciary system, including a supreme court.
- April 27, 1846 he declared that “the forests and timber growing therein shall be considered government property, and under the special care of the Minister of the Interior …;” effectively starting the process of protecting our mauka watersheds.
- January 27, 1848 through March 7, 1848 he participated in what we refer to as the “Great Māhele” that was a reformation of the land system in Hawaiʻi and allowed private ownership.
- June 14, 1852 he enacted the Constitution of 1852 that expanded on the Declaration of Rights, granted universal (adult male) voting rights for the first time and changed the House of Nobles from a hereditary body to one where members served by appointment by the King. It also institutionalized the three branches of government and defined powers along the lines of the American Constitution.
- Toward the end of Kauikeaouli’s reign there were 423-schools in Hawaiʻi with an enrollment of over twelve-thousand-students. Most of the schools were elementary schools using Hawaiian as the language of instruction.
Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III) died December 15, 1854 (at the age of 41.)
Kauikeaouli’s exact birth date is not known; however, the generally accepted date is August 11, 1813. Never-the-less, Kauikeaouli was apparently an admirer of Saint Patrick and chose to celebrate his birthday on March 17. Happy Birthday and Cheers to Kauikeaouli, Kamehameha III.