Heroes of Hawaii and Their Statues
King Kamehameha I, Duke Kahanamoku and Saint Damien were heroic figures in Hawaii’s history. They are honored today with iconic Hawaii statues.
Duke Kahanamoku’s legendary swimming ability helped him to win five Olympic medals in the early 1900’s. He was also one of the first Waikiki Beach Boys, watermen who taught first-time visitors to Oahu how to surf and canoe.
Later in life, Duke went on to spread the popularity of surfing and the spirit of aloha to the world. His statue, which is on Kuhio Beach facing lively Kalakaua Avenue, welcomes all visitors to Waikiki with open arms.
King Kamehameha I
Kamehameha was born in North Kohala on Hawaii’s Big Island. He united the Hawaiian Islands into one royal kingdom in 1810 during a time of increasing western influence. His legendary strength and ferocity as a warrior was tempered by his diplomatic skill and his love for the Hawaiian people.
There are four commissioned statues of King Kamehameha. The most famous stands in front of Aliiolani Hale (across from Iolani Palace) in Downtown Honolulu on the island of Oahu. The second is located near his birthplace in front of the North Kohala Civic Center on Hawaii’s Big Island. The third stands in Wailoa River State Park in Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island. The last statue can be found in National Statuary Hall in Washington D.C.
In 1873, Belgium priest Father Damien arrived in Molokai. Islanders afflicted with the contagious Hansen’s disease were kept segregated here on the isolated Kalaupapa peninsula. After sixteen years of selflessly caring for the people of Kalaupapa, Father Damien himself succumbed to the disease. His selfless acts have earned him sainthood status and he was canonized in Rome in October 2009.
His three Hawaii statues are located in front of the State Capitol in Downtown Honolulu on the island of Oahu, in front of St. Joseph’s Church on Molokai and in National Statuary Hall in Washington D.C.