Hip-his­tor­i­cal Hawaii

An im­por­tant his­tor­i­cal foot­note. Ex­plore the epic sto­ries of Hawai­ian monar­chy and tales of hero­ism in World War 2

Escape! Malaysia - - Hawaii -

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.


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


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


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


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 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


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


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

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