Mōʻī David Laʻamea Kamananakapu Mahinulani Naloiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalākaua

Beloved Mōʻī David Laʻamea Kamananakapu Mahinulani Naloiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalākaua was renowned as a wordly diplomat, explorer and innovator.  His wish to ally our kingdom with others around the world led King Kalākaua to become the first Head of State to circumnavigate the globe.  King David Kalākaua was a constant seeker of knowledge. He joined the Freemasons lodge like his predecessors King Kamehamehas V & IV and actively sought out the most advanced technology of the world.

King David Kalākaua was born on November 16, 1836 and began his reign as on February 12, 1874  Known affectionately as the “Merrie Monarch,” he revived singularly Hawaiian practices previously banned under the missionary influence such as hula, and oli, the art of chanting.  

King Kalākaua was the first Hawaiian ruler that did not directly descend from the Kamehameha lineage. When he began his reign in 1874, he needed to create his own royal symbols of distinction. King Kalākaua ordered new crown jewels, personalized a new royal standard and created a custom monogram. 

The Royal Standard of the Kalākaua Dynasty is a flag representing the Kalākaua royal family. The standard signified the royal family’s presence; it was present when they resided at the palace, while aboard ships, and while attending special events. The Kalākaua royal standard displayed a simplified version of our Hawaiian coat-of-arms  from the Kamehameha dynasty in the center.  The center shield portrays the green puela which was a tapa strip or banner in traditional times. The coat-of-arms features white, red and blue alternating stripes emblematic of our Hae Hawaiʻi in the upper left and lower right corners, and white pūloʻuloʻu in the opposite corners. Pūloʻuloʻu are tapa-covered balls which signified the presence of aliʻi. Above the coat of arms is the royal crown of Kalākaua. The coat-of-arms and crown of Kalākaua are set against eight alternating stripes of white, red and blue, again resembling our beloved Hae Hawaiʻi, or kingdom flag.

The Kalākaua crown is featured both on his royal standard, and personal monogram.  His crown is unique in how it marries traditional European symbols of monarchy as well as ancient Hawaiian symbology.  King Kalākaua’s crown above his initials are distinctive for the identifiable taro leaves on its circlet.  The taro leaves signify Hāloa-na-ka-lau-kapalili, elder brother of Hāloa, who in Hawaiian moʻolelo was not only the first chief of the Hawaiian people, but a lineal ancestor of King Kalākaua.

His monogram is striking as it depicts a mirrored double K with Roman numeral I in the center.  This specifically signified his title of King Kalākaua I. As the official sigil of King Kalākaua, the monogram was used as his official letterhead, on clothing, buttons, pins, silverware and furniture and many other personal objects.

Mōʻī Kalākaua had a unique vision for the future of the Hawaiian kingdom; he sought an audience with Heads of State globally and simultaneously revitalized pride in our ancient culture and history as Hawaiians. Although he died in San Francisco on January 20, 1891 before he could complete his missions, he left a grand legacy for us to be proud of.

Written by: Lāiana and Cami Kanoa-Wong

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