An important historical footnote. Explore the epic stories of Hawaiian monarchy and tales of heroism in World War 2
Journey from a time of Hawaiian monarchy to the not-too-distant past of WW2 which colours the history of the Hawaiian isles and its role in the epic battles of Japan and the United States. Recognise the evolution and courses through time that the island took to emerge with the splendour of stories it has today. Dive in together with us on our journey to find some magnificent sights, interesting stories and a dash of Hawaiian history.
Relive the trepidation and journey of events leading up to one of the most daring and surprising attacks on American soil which occurred in Pearl Harbour on December 7th, 1941. Referred to commonly by Americans as ‘a day of infamy’, the attack on Pearl Harbour which sank the USS Arizona cost the lives of some 2,400 US soldiers and killed 68 civilians. Relive the harrowing tales of heroism on both sides and the unfolding of events that led to the Pacific War.
PACIFIC AVIATION MUSEUM
Examine the extensive list of planes and the role aerial superiority played in determining the victors of battles throughout WW2. The Pacific Aviation Museum houses over 29 different aircraft ranging from WW2 to the current air tactical fighters. Marvel at the model planes of the Mitsubishi A6M2 which played a significant role in establishing Japan’s aerial supremacy during the Pacific War or the latest air tactical fighter like the F-15C. Make sure to try the interactive flight simulation available at the museum which will have you dogfighting over the skies of Guadalcanal or attempting to land on the deck of an aircraft carrier in the Pacific.
Options for planes include the F4U Corsair, A6M Zero, P-38 Lightning, P-51 Mustang, or Ki-61 Tony. Find out more at www.pacificaviationmuseum.org
USS BOWFIN SUBMARINE MUSEUM & PARK
Sinking some 43 vessels with successful completion of 9 war patrols, the Uss-bowfin Submarine is considered to be a legend among the 188 submarines deployed during WW2. Launched exactly one year after the Pearl Harbour attack, the noted submarine was nicknamed ‘The Pearl Harbour Avenger.’ The legendary submarine is said to be ranked 15th for the number of vessels sunk out of the 188 submarines deployed. The balao-class diesel-electric submarine was able to travel at a surfaced speed of 20.25 knots and 8.75 knots when submerged. It carried a total of 24 torpedoes which could be fired from anyone of its 10 torpedo tubes onboard.
Today, the submarine sits adjacent to the World War 2 Valor in the Pacific National Monument and serves as a submarine museum & park. The popularity of the submarine gained the National Historic Landmark status in 1986 by the U.S Department of Interior. Learn more about the Bowfin Submarine at www.bowfin.org
USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL
Erected in honour of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the United States, the Arizona Memorial contains within it a whitewashed shrine listing the names of 1,177 individuals who died on ‘the day of infamy’. Within the shrine, inscribed upon the marble walls is the inscription “To the Memory of the Gallant Men Here Entombed and Their Shipmates Who Gave Their Lives in Action on December 7, 1941, on the U.S.S. Arizona.” Often, the shrine is approached by tourists and visitors with great reverence.
The midway point of the memorial offers a view of the Battleship USS Missouri and the sunken base turret of the USS Arizona with a viewing well right in front of the shrine allowing visitors to obtain a closer look at the wreckage. The memorial is visited by more than 2 million people annually and was declared a historical landmark in 1989. More available on www.nps.gov
BATTLESHIP MISSOURI MEMORIAL
Witness the place of ultimate surrender of the Empire of Japan to the United States government marking the end of WW2 onboard the Battleship USS Missouri. A 35 minute guided tour is available for those who would like to hear the story of the surrender in great detail and to observe the main historical points of the ship.
Nicknamed “Mighty Mo”, the Battleship USS Missouri service merited it 11 stars in its service towards the Korean War, the Persian Gulf War and WW2. The battleship was decommissioned in 1992 and began its service as a museum ship in 1998.
The battleship weighs in at over 45,000 tonnes and has a length of 270 metres. During its service, the USS Missouri could achieve speeds of up to 33 knots. More on www.ussmissouri.org
Iolani Palace was one of the final residences of Queen Liliuokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawaii during her imprisonment for attempting to restore power to the monarchy of Hawaii. Constructed in 1879, the palace served as the official residence of Hawaiian royalty beginning from the time of King Kamehameha III. Despite its magnificence and splendid architecture, the sad tale of Queen Liliuokalani’s imprisonment for her tireless attempts to restore her reign in Hawaii is deeply haunting. Her majesty spent a huge part of her imprisonment in the upper rooms of the palace making a quilt ensconced within a Plexiglas case, which remains one of the last remnants of her tale alongside a book which she authored entitled ‘Hawaii story by Hawaii’s Queen’ which details her entire account.
The famed palace was recognised as a National Historic Landmark in 1962 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. Not only till 1978 was the palace opened to the public as a museum.
The first floor of the palace contains the Grand Hall, State Dining Room, Blue Room and the Throne Room while the second floor of the house houses the King and Queen Suites, the Music Room and the Imprisonment Room where Queen Liliuokalani was held.
Also within the palace grounds is a fort-like looking structure called the Hale Koa which was a barracks completed in 1871 by architect Theodore Heuck to house the Royal Guard. Visit www.iolanipalace.com for more details.
THE BERNICE PAUAHI BISHOP MUSEUM
The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum founded in 1889 is the largest and houses the world’s biggest collection of Polynesian cultural artefacts and natural history specimens. Explore the extensive lineage and cultural bloodlines of the Kamehameha dynasty
located to the left of the entrance of the museum. Known as the Kahili Room, the regal room shows various portraits of the monarchy along with their personal belongings along with the royal standards of the Kamehameha dynasty.
Among the more interesting exhibits is the display of Kaneikokala. The statue of the deity is said to be firmly rooted to the ground despite efforts by museum personnel to move it. The exhibit according to the local museum label explains that the deity was initially uncovered by Wahinenui, a fisherman who experienced a dream where the deity asked for his help to remove it from the cold of the ground. After being relocated to Bishop Museum in 1906, Kaneikokala refused to be moved despite efforts to move it outside the hall. More information on the museum is available at www.bishopmuseum.org
MAUI NEI NATIVE EXPEDITION
Learning about Hawaii history and its cultural intricacies may involve arduous amounts of reading and many museum visits. However, those who prefer the pleasant tones of a friendly guide may find reprieve from the friendly guides of Maui Nei Native Expeditions, a tour provider group founded in 2001. The organisation through its nonprofit, the Friends of Mokuula offers an interactive journey through some of Maui’s most iconic and influential native sites. Learn about cultural intricacies from the local ‘kumu’ or teacher and have the opportunity to try out cultural activities for yourself.
An interesting landmark to visit is the Old Lahaina Courthouse which was built back in the 1860s and served as a customs house for whaling and trade ships during the time. The courthouse has since transformed into a heritage museum and community educational centre for the public.
Some not to be missed sites on the tour also include the Hauola stone at Lahaina
Harbour and the largest banyan tree in Hawaii. The Hauola stone looking like a chair-shaped rock was believed to have emitted healing powers to those who sat upon it. The site was also the birthplace for high ranking and the most sacred ‘alii moi’ or high chiefs.
According to local guides, Hawaiian women who gave birth at the site did so standing up and not sitting down while a ‘kahuna’ or priest caught the falling baby. Hawaii’s largest banyan tree was planted in the courtyard square in 1873 to memorialise the 50th anniversary of the American Protestant mission in Lahaina. The tree has since grown to have an aerial root system covering more than a quarter of a hectare. Over 16,000 visitors have experienced the guided Maui Nei tour so don’t miss your chance to experience this authentic Hawaiian experience. For more information on the tour, visit www.mauinei.com
POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTRE
The curious observer in Hawaii would be able to observe the interesting gesture among Hawaiians which is the “shaka” generally used to convey the spirit of ‘aloha’, meaning hello or goodbye. Common among surfers or inhabitants of Hawaii, the tale of this curious gesture can be found at the Polynesian Cultural Centre (PCC) at the foot of the statue of Hamana Kalili. A descendant of Hawaiian alii or chiefs, Kalili of Laie is considered the “father” of the shaka. Due to an unfortunate working incident at the Kahuku Sugar Mill, Kalili was left without his three middle fingers on his right hand. Reassigned to a security post at the sugar cane railroad, Kalili’s gesture of waving his right hand with missing fingers caught on popularly with local kids due to its distinctive style and hence began the tradition of Hawaiians using it as a gesture of ‘aloha’.
At the PCC, one can expect many more tales of origin and spectacular Hawaiian dances and performances at its premises. Visit its award-winning Alii Luau where guests are transported to old Hawaii with fresh flower lei and greetings of ‘aloha’ as they enter the lushly landscaped Hale Aloha Theater. The facility features a lagoon for the arrival of the Alii Court (royalty), as well as dramatic falls and an Imu (underground oven) that can be viewed from every seat in the house. The recently renovated Hale Aloha Theater can accommodate up to 600 guests.
The highlights of the performances are the magnificent fire dances which are performed by keiki (children) dancers who show magnificent mastery of the fire staffs despite their young ages and is certainly not to be missed. The PCC’S Luau is the only one in Hawaii to feature keiki dancers as part of its programme. The PCC is an experience where one will not only take home a deeper understanding of Hawaiian history, culture and hospitality but long lasting memories to be remembered. Find out more about PCC at www.polynesia.com
BELOW LEFT WW2 photos depicting the surrender of the Japanese Army onboard USS Missouri
TOP Battleship USS Missouri stationed at the dock after being decomissioned since 1998
Captain’s cabin dining hall on-board the USS Missouri
Photograph of the original instruments of surrender for Japan
BELOW FROM TOP The entry way to USS Missouri littered with American flags
ABOVE FROM TOP The Throne Room. The crown jewels and scepter can be seen ensconced in a plexiglass case
The regal looking Iolani Palace
BOTTOM The Royal Court of Polynesian Cultural Centre
LEFT Dancers showing off native Tahitian dance moves