Kingdom of Hawai'i

The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Hawai'i
The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Hawai’i

The Royal House of Keōua Nui, integral to the rich tapestry of Hawaiian history, traces its lineage back to the early 19th century, starting with King Kamehameha I, who united the Hawaiian Islands into a single kingdom in 1810. This unification under the Kamehameha dynasty laid the groundwork for developing a modern Hawaiian state, blending traditional governance with influences brought by global interactions.

The Royal House, as established by Keōua Nui, father of Kamehameha I, has been a symbol of continuity amidst the shifting tides of political, social, and economic changes over the centuries. The monarchy played a pivotal role in navigating foreign influences and internal reforms. Notably, King Kalākaua, known for his visionary leadership, was instrumental in promoting a resurgence of Hawaiian culture and national pride during his reign in the late 19th century. He founded the Royal Order of the Star of Oceania in 1886 to foster alliances across the Pacific, demonstrating a proactive approach to international relations and cultural exchange.

However, the overthrow of Queen Lili’uokalani in 1893 marked a significant turning point, leading to the eventual annexation of Hawai’i by the United States in 1898. Despite these challenges, the descendants of the Hawaiian monarchy have continued to uphold their cultural heritage and advocate for the rights and recognition of Native Hawaiians.

The Flag of the Kingdom of Hawai'i
The Flag of the Kingdom of Hawai’i

In modern times, the Royal House of Keōua Nui, led by H.R.H. Princess Owana Kaʻōhelelani, plays a ceremonial and cultural role. It strives to preserve the legacies of its royal lineage, promoting education about Hawaiian history, language, and traditions. The re-establishment of traditional honors, such as the Royal Order of the Star of Oceania, underlines ongoing efforts to celebrate and perpetuate the significance of Hawai’i’s royal heritage in both local and international contexts.

Awards

The Royal Order of the Star of Oceania

The Royal Order of the Star of Oceania, established by King Kalākaua in 1886, was conceived as a mechanism to unite and build alliances across the Pacific. Its founding was part of King Kalākauai’s visionary plan to create a confederation of Polynesian nations and Pacific islands, aiming to strengthen regional ties and promote mutual interests against colonial expansion. The Order symbolized the King’s forward-thinking approach to international diplomacy and his commitment to advocating for the sovereignty and collaboration of island nations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Insignia of the Order of the Star of Oceania
Insignia of the Order of the Star of Oceania

However, the order was abolished following the overthrow of Queen Lili’uokalani in 1893, an event that marked the decline of the Hawaiian monarchy and the eventual annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States. The Order lay dormant until its revival in 2020 by the senior heir to the House of Keoua Nui, H.R.H. Princess Owana Ka’ōhelelani. This revival was part of a broader effort to restore and honor the Hawaiian people’s cultural heritage and historical sovereignty.

Today, the Royal Order of the Star of Oceania is not only linked to the Hawaiian monarchy’s past ambitions but also as a contemporary emblem of cultural recognition and educational excellence. In its modern form, the Order also functions as a platform for promoting educational initiatives and cultural preservation among the Hawaiian and Polynesian communities. It highlights the importance of maintaining and celebrating the unique cultural identities of the Pacific islands while advocating for cooperation and mutual respect among diverse cultures. The Royal Order of the Star of Oceania thus continues to embody the spirit of unity and recognition that was its original intent, bridging historical traditions with contemporary pursuits in cultural diplomacy and education.

The diploma is in Hawaiian and translates to:

Her Royal Highness Princess Owana Ka’öhelelani, Head of the Royal House of Hawai’i, hereby issues this Charter to affirm and uphold our fundamental values and virtues. It is with a deep commitment to the pursuit of true goodness that I address you,

James Patrick Howard II
Knight Commander
Royal Order of the Star of Oceania

In your official capacity and as part of your inclusion, you may wear the honors representing your distinguished merit and noble character. In recognition of these attributes, this Diploma was expediently issued on March 17, 2024, in the district of Hilo in Hawai’i.

Brevet of Knight Commander of Royal Order of the Star of Oceania
Brevet of Knight Commander of Royal Order of the Star of Oceania

Or you can download the PDF here.