The Kanaka Maoli flag

The Kanaka Maoli flag

“The controversial Kanaka Maoli—or “native Hawaiian”—flag was introduced to the public by Gene Simeona of Honolulu in 2001. Simeona stated that this unearthed design was “resurrected from an ‘original’ Hawaiian green, red and yellow striped flag, destroyed by British navy Capt. Lord George Paulet when he seized Hawaii for five months in 1843” and that it was Kamehameha’s personal flag long before the modern Hawaiian flag.” - Hawaii Magazine

Many of us grew up with the "Kanaka Maoli" Flag. Seen at protests, ceremonies and other gatherings, I have always wondered where it has come from. Some Uncles and Aunties will tell you it's the true flag of Hawai'i. Some will say its the flag of the Kanaka Maoli (Hawaiian Native). The more you research you wont find too much about this flag in any written form. I personally have not seen any imaging of this flag used in early depiction during King Kamehameha I reign.

So where did this flag come from?  

An article from the "Hawaiian Magazine" stated that Gene Simeona introduced this flag in 2001. Simeona stated that " he resurrected this flag design based on a Original flag destroyed by Capt. Lord George Paulet (British Navy) when he seized Hawai'i for several months in 1843." It's a good story, but I have a hard time believing the story when you can find so many depictions of the Modern flag in illustrations before 1843.

The other account of the flag being introduced is in the book "He Alo A He Alo" written by Louis "Buzzy" Agard. Said to have the crest in the upper left corner and the colors to be red, yellow, and black. Even still, there is no early depiction of this flag being used in the Hawaiian Kingdom. This might not be the flag that some misinformed people say it is, but one thing is Hawaiians do use it as a representation for sovereignty.

I personally am okay with our culture taking on newer symbols to represent our sovereignty. Although we must not forget what the Hawaiians in our past used for our representation. King Kamehameha I first flew the British flag over Hawaii in the late 1700's. As a sign of respect and friendship to King George III and the British Empire. During the 1800's, as more Americans arrived to the islands, they grew unhappy to see the flag fly over Hawaii. As a compromise, King Kamehameha I combined both of the flags of both nations and as a result we have a flag that is still flown today.

What I can say out of my own opinion is King Kamehameha I most likely did not have a flag or a knowledge of flags before seeing unknown ships approaching the islands. Most nations not from European descent did not use traditional flags. Most used other symbolic items that represented what nation or family they represent. As much as we know about King Kamehameha I and his great accomplishments during and prior to his reign. There is a whole history before him forgotten and unwritten to be discovered. Hawaiian's are not just people who have been here for only 300 years. Our history goes back much further than that and as a Hawaiian I will keep learning for myself and hope you can join me as well.

I invite everyone to educate me and others by adding and/or correcting this information. As a Hawaiian I educate myself the best I can and only others can further educate me correctly.

Below is a comment section and social media accounts where you can post your knowledge and help others educate themselves. 



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