Upon the opening of Hulihee Palace, 1928.

Story of Hulihee Palace Told By Mrs. Swanzy On Even of New Dedication

The Daughters of Hawaii will dedicate the old Hulihee palace at Kailua, Kona, Hawaii, on noon of Kamehameha day, June 11, the ceremony to be followed by a luau at 1 o’clock.

Restoration of the old palace, the site of which was set aside by Governor Farrington for a Hawaiian museum to be maintained by and cared for under the management of the Daughter of Hawaii, has been one of the big accomplishments of the Daughters during the last year. The 1925 legislature appropriated $10,000 for its purchase.

The organization has raised $8,963,89 of the budget of $15,000 required for its reconstruction and furnishings and through its regent, Mrs. Julie Judd Swanzy, is soliciting further donations to bring the sum to its goal.

The palace, which was built by Kuakini, governor of Hawaii about 100 years ago, was remodeled in 1884 by King Kalakaua. The restoration was carried out from plans submitted by Rothwell, Kangeter & Lester, architects. James D. Lewis of Hawaii was the contractor.


Something of the history of Hulihee and John Adams Kuakini is given by Mrs. Swanzy as follows:

It is with enthusiasm that we anticipate the approaching day when Hulihee, restored to its beauty and dignity of former years, will look out upon the rolling surf at Kailua. And with this latest undertaking are we not stirred to a renewed interest in old Kailua and historic Kona? Kailua was one of the favorite places with the Hawaiian people. Kona lands, as we are told, were the coveted lands among the chiefs.

How significant are these two saying of the Kona people:

“I come from the land that holds the rays of the setting sun.”

“There (in Kona) the people watch for the signs in the clouds, their life depends upon the rain clouds.”

Ancient Kona is gone, but much of its distinctive charm will always remain. Every part of the ddistrict is rich in legend and history. Remains of numerous stone structures still stand to remind us of the earlier civilization. At Honaunau may be seen the restored puuhonua or “City of Refuge,” and “Hale o Keawe,” the ancient mausoleum.


Along the shore near Keei lies the battle ground of Mokuohai, which witnessed the beginning of Kamehameha’s conquests. In the little village of Napoopoo on Kealakekua Bay may be seen the terraces of the famous heiau, “Hikiau,” built by Lonoikamakahiki, an early moi of Hawaii, and rising above it Ka Pali o Manuhi, which holds the burial caves of Kona chiefs.

Just across the bay at Kaawaloa stood the stone house of the chiefess Kapiolani, who dared to defy Pele, and on the shores of the same bay Captain Cook met his death. Just a few miles around the point is Keauhou, the birthplace of Kauikeaouli (King Kamehameha the Third).

In the mountains, at an elevation of some 5,000 feet, may be found the oldest ruin of all, the Ahu a Umi, built by Umi in the traditional days of the sixteenth century. Even at that early period Kona had become the home of the sovereign of the island.

Kailua became the residence of King Kamehameha the First in his later years (1813–18190, and was consequently the capital of the island kingdom. The site of his court was known as “Kamakahonu,” a place not far from the present wharf. The king had two rudely built stone houses. All others were of thatch. The king’s heiau “Ahuena” stood to the rear of his house. The remains of the fort afterwards built on the site of this heiau are said to remain today. Kamehameha died at Kamakahonu and during the following year Kailua became the scene of the breaking of the tabu, that great event initiated by the Hawaiian rulers, before the coming of the Christian Missionaries.


The court having moved from Kailua to Honolulu in 1820, Kuakini, the Governor, became the prominent figure on the Island of Hawaii. As a distinguished chief and a member of the ruling family of that period he invites interest, but our especial attention is turned to him today as the original owner of “Hulihee.” Kuakini was an own brother of Queen Kaahumanu, and a cousin of that worthy premier, Kalanimoku. It was a family of powerful alii who controlled the government during that important period. There were three chiefesses, the mighty Kaahumanu, Queen Regent; a sister, Piia (Lydia Namahana), Governess of Maui; another sister, Kaheiheimalie (Hoapili Wahine).

There were two chiefs, Kuakini, Governor of Hawaii; Keeaumoku the II (Governor Cox). Through their mother, Namahanaikalelekapuokalani, they were descended from the ruling families of Maui and Hawaii and through the father, Keeaumoku, the dauntless warrior and chief counsellor of Kamehameha the conqueror, they were descended from the highest chiefs of Hawaii.

Following the death of Kamehameha at Kailua in 1819, Kuakini was appointed by the Queen Regent to the governorship of the island of Hawaii. He held this position for a quarter of a century, serving during one of those years, 1831, as Governor of Oahu. Kailua, his place of permanent residence, was one of the important seaports of that time and had a population of from three to four thousand people, while within a radius of thirty miles of the village where said to be some twenty thousand persons. Lack of water made gardens impossible in the makai lands, but groves of coconuts, kou, and hala shaded those otherwise barren shores.


Kailua had become an important port and trading center. As its distinguished and generous host, the Governor, Kuakini, figures prominently in the accounts of early navigators and foreign settlers during the first half of the last century. He was fond of foreigners and foreign learning and had adopted European dress. He exhibited a great desire for knowledge and was the first one of his nation to speak English. From the foreign members of the King’s court and from frequent visiting navigators he undoubtedly acquired this accomplishment, which seems to have given him ascendancy over other chiefs of his time.

Captain Freycinet, commanding the French discovery ship “Uranie,” which anchored off Kailua in 1819, comments particularly upon his speech and general appearance. His description is interesting:

“. . . At nine o’clock a large canoe, better formed than the others, and paddled by twelve men, brought on board the Chief of the town. He was 6 feet 3 inches in height; his countenance was handsome and mild in expression, his chest broad, his head-dress was handsome. He was half covered with a mantle, which allowed us to see the exact proportions of all parts of his body; and though not very muscular, few men are better made. The becoming manner, however, in which he introduced himself, his language (he spoke English very well), his choice of words; . . . the well dressed officer who served as escort; the marked readiness with which the canoes which surrounded the ship moved out of his way; the elegance, cleanliness and size of his boat; all these things soon convinced us that our visitor was a person of distinction.

[To be continued.]

(Advertiser, 5/27/1928, p. 4)


The Honolulu Advertiser. 72nd Year, Number 14819, Page 4. May 27, 1928.

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