The Royal Order of Kamehameha I was established on April 11, 1865 by his Majesty King Kamehameha V (Lot Kapuāiwa) to honor the legacy of his grandfather, the unifier of these islands, Kamehameha the Great.
Lot Kapuāiwa founded the Royal Order of Kamehameha I to defend the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Hawaii. After the overthrow of Her Majesty Queen Lili’iuokalani, the Provisional government declared the Royal Order of Kamehameha I a threat.
The Order went underground until 1903 when His Royal Highness Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole lead a torchlight ceremony around the statue of Kamehameha I and declared in public the restoration of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, announced the reorganization of the Hawaiian Royal Societies, and created the Hawaiian Civic Clubs.
Today, the organization continues to guard, maintain, and preserve the rituals and the memory of the ruling Chiefs of Hawaii.
The purpose of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I as it is known today is to unite in fraternal and benevolent work, men of Hawaiian descent, of good moral character, of sound bodily health; to cultivate the cardinal principles of friendship, charity and benevolence; to aid widows and orphans; to improve the social and moral conditions of its members; to provide scholarship assistance; to preserve and perpetuate the ancient culture, customs, and traditions of Hawai’i, uplift the Hawaiian people; infuse the spirit of patriotism, loyalty, helpfulness and kindness among its members; advance the interest of its members in every rightful cause, and to encourage and develop leadership.
Today there are eight chapters of the Royal Order of Kamehemaha I:
- Moku O Hawai’i – Chapter 1 (Central O’ahu)
- Moku O Māmalahoa – Chapter 2 (Hilo, Hawai’i)
- Moku O Kaumuali’i – Chapter 3 (Kaua’i)
- Moku O Kahekili – Chapter 4 (Maui)
- Moku O Kalaniana’ole – Chapter 5 (Moloka’i) Inactive
- Moku O Kūhiō – Chapter 6 (Windward O’ahu)
- Moku O Kona – Chapter 7 (Kona, Hawai’i)
- Moku O Kapuāiwa – Chapter 8 (Leeward O’ahu)
- Moku O Kohala – Chapter 9 (Kohala, Hawai’i)