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Nā Kīʻaha Lama o Kamehameha III

Cover Image: Masthead of Ke Au Hou published on July 6, 1910.

Aloha Nūhou Monday!

Refuting prohibitionist rhetoric which claimed that Kamehameha III, Kauikeaouli, was a sober and abstinent king, John H. Wise shares some newly acquired information regarding His Majesty’s love of alcohol––in particular, Wise reveals that Kauikeaouli owned two large drinking vessels named Makaanapu and Kikipani. They could only be filled with alcohol, and only his dearest friends could drink of it.

Rather than taking a hard stance on either side, whether pro- or anti-prohibition, Wise advocates for his people to drink in moderation.

Image: Wise, John H., “Na Kiaha Lama o Kamehameha III.” Ke Au Hou, July 6, 1910, p. 19

The Drinking Vessels of Kamehameha III.

Being that we continue to see prohibitionists lauding the deeds of King Kamehameha III, on the Prohibition question, we too must recall what he’s done on the matter.

It has been said, and we do attest, that Kamehameha III was a lover of alcohol, and because of his love for this thing, he kept two favorite drinking vessels named: 1. Makaanapu, and 2. Kikipani. These were the names of the favorite drinking vessels of Kamehameha III.

Water was never to be poured into these vessels––only when filled with alcohol alone would it be drunk. These were very large vessels into which a whole bottle of alcohol could be emptied. When Kamehameha III wished to drink, these vessels were fetched, and only his most favored and closest friends were to drink from these vessels.1

We had no desire to expose these private matters out in the open, yet because of the teachings saying that Kamehameha III was an abstinent King, we thought to investigate, and in our investigation, we had come across these things. Prohibitionists are surely not oblivious to these activities of the King; rather, they intended to conceal some things, and to show others. Things that support their dishonesty are what they would like to be seen, but those things which reveal their deceitful doings ought to be hidden. However––my people––the deeds of this King and his instructions are not all that we should take away. Let us look at our own actions, and it is on those actions that we must improve, so that we are each in a much better state. If you are one who drinks excessively, drink in moderation from now on. If alcohol has mistreated you, abandon it. If you have been successful in your moderate drinking, continue to drink as such. And to you, O Prohibitionist––if alcohol is as evil as you say, then never drink again. Practice what you preach.

To mark the AOLE [box] is to free alcohol from restriction.


(Au Hou, 07/06/1910, p. 19)

1Another reference to Kamehameha III’s drinking vessels, Makaanapu and Kikipani can be seen in Samuel K. Kekoowai’s article, “Haa Piliaama i ke Kalaku o Waimea,” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, July 12, 1923, p. 3.

Image: Ke Au Hou anti-prohibitionist supplement. Translation: “He is the one who, along with his court, passed the law in the year 1840 ‘Prohibiting the Manufacture and Use of Intoxicating Drinks’ to ‘promote the interests of the kingdom.’ And what of today’s Hawaiians? Will we revert? ANSWER: ‘YES.’ This is because, [despite] the banning of alcohol production here in Hawaiʻi by virtue of this law of Kamehameha III’s, the importation of alcohol from America has continued to the benefit of the Woolleyites’ forefathers, and the consumption of alcohol had persisted in those days, as it has to this day. Now, in 1910 A.D., the Wolleyites’ forefathers have returned, demanding that the production and sale of alcohol here in Hawaiʻi be banned, yet the importation of American alcohol will continue to the benefit of the Wolleyites’ forefathers. Income from licensing and taxation, the welfare of Hawaiʻi, will be gone––the profit of the Woolleyites’ forefathers will continue and increase.” Bishop Museum Archives. SP 221287

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact, Bishop Museum Archives.

Image: Anti-Prohibition Sample Ballot. Bishop Museum Archives. SP 221288

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact, Bishop Museum Archives.

This post is part of He Aupuni Palapala: Preserving and Digitizing the Hawaiian Language Newspapers, a partnership between Bishop Museum and Awaiaulu with assistance from Kamehameha Schools. Mahalo nui loa to Hawaii Tourism Authority for their support. Learn more about this project here.

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