History Behind Kamehameha Day

Kamehameha the Great

Kamehameha Unified The Islands

Kamehameha Day was first declared by King Kamehameha V on June 11, 1871 to honor his grandfather, Kamehameha the Great, on his birthday.  Kamehameha lived from June 11, 1758 – May 18,1819. The first observance of the holiday with parades and more was the following year. When Hawai’i became a state in 1959, Kamehameha Day was one of the two holidays honoring past royalty that were proclaimed by the governor and state legislature.

In 1997, I led the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Chorale during the annual Kamehameha Day program at our Nation’s Capitol in Washington, D.C. Kamehameha Schools was established in 1887 by the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, great-granddaughter of Kamehameha the Great. The private school aims to produce industrious men and women of Native Hawaiian ancestry. Fellow alumnus U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka and U.S. House of Representative Neil Abercrombie both from Hawai’i participated in the program at the Capitol. Read more about the program here.

Kamehameha the Great unified the Hawaiian Islands into one kingdom in 1810. His dynasty lasted through five kings followed by King Kalākaua, King Lunalilo, and then Queen Lili’uokalani who was overthrown in 1893. Hawai’i is the only state of the United States to have had a monarchy and the only state where you can visit a palace where the monarchs once lived.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele


Mele Fong is a professional singer, song arranger, and master of multiple strumming styles for the 'ukulele. She is an experienced educator with over 50+ years experience playing the 'ukulele and entertaining worldwide. Mele performs with her husband in the duo "The Hawaiian Serenaders" and leads student groups. In 1996, the duo represented the State of Hawai'i in concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Mele and her husband Richard Tom were both born and raised on Oahu and now reside in Maui.