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Keepers of the Flame

41Authorized by the 35th Article of the 1864 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i (08/12/1864), King Kamehameha V established the Order of Kamehameha I by Royal Decree on April 11, 1865 at the ‘Iolani Palace (original coral structure). The Royal Decree was made with the endorsement of the King’s Privy Council of State and establishes the Order’s mission and authorizes the Order to carry out its kuleana, in perpetuity, as an institution of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i.

What is this mission?  Under the Royal Decree, “To cultivate and develop among Our People the feelings of Honour and Loyalty to Our Kingdom, and it’s institutions. To confer honourary distinctions upon such of Our People and foreigners as have rendered or may hereafter render to Our Kingdom and People important services.”

Following the illegal overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani and the Kingdom in 1893, the Order was considered a threat and suppressed by the Provisional Government and subsequent Republic of Hawai‘i. As a result, the Order was forced to exist as a secret underground society. After Hawai‘i became a territory of the United States in 1898, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole, lead a torchlight ceremony around the statue of Kamehameha (Oahu) and publicly declared the restoration (return to public light) of the Order in 1902 (05/13/1902). As the last surviving designated heir to the throne, had it not been for the overthrow, Prince Kūhiō would have succeeded Queen Lili‘uokalani as King of Hawai‘i and Grand Master of the Order. As such, Prince Kūhiō possessed the mana (authority and power) to reorganize and perpetuate the Royal Order of Kamehameha I as it exists today.

Historical note:  The Royal Decree of 1865 constitutes the Charter that entitles and empowers the Order’s existence.
As a State Institution, the Order will exist in perpetuity as long as the Kingdom exist or until dissolved by the Sovereign.
Amendments to the Charter can only be made with the approval of the Sovereign.  Amendments to the body’s bylaws require approval of the Privy Council of State.  Under the Doctrine-of Necessity, the Order is justified in moving forward as needed absent a viable Privy Council of State.  Once a viable government is restored including a Sovereign and Privy Council of State, these entities may review the works of the Order and approve it acts in their absence or annual/edit such acts.

Today, the Order proclaims the continued existence of the soverign and independent Nation of Hawai‘i and awaits the restoration of its governing body. In the interim, the Order promotes sustaining the laws of the land to prevent anarchy and asserts its continuing kuleana to support and uplift the Kingdom and its People (the Lāhui).

There are currently ten chapters of the Order.

Chapter: Established: Moku/Island:
Hawai‘i Established May 13, 1902 ‘Ewa, O‘ahu
Māmalahoa Established July 03, 1907 Hilo, Hamakua, and Ka‘ū; Moku o Keawe
Kaumuali‘i Established December 05, 1918 Kaua‘i
Kahekili Established December 09, 1922 Maui
Kalaniana‘ole Established 1928 Moloka‘i (currently inactive)
Kūhiō Established 1962 Ko‘olaupoko, O‘ahu
Ahu‘ena Established 1994 Kona, Moku o Keawe
Kapuāiwa Established April 11, 2007 Wai‘anae, O‘ahu
Kamehameha Established 2011 Kohala, Moku o Keawe
‘Umi a Līloa Established 2017  Puna, Moku o Keawe
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