Thursday, April 21, 2011

Righteousness, Part of Hawaii's State Motto

"R" is for Righteousness. I chose this word because the state motto of Hawaii is "Perpetuated in Righteousness." The longer version of the state motto literally translates from Hawaiian as, “the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”

The dictionary defines the adjective righteous as acting in accord with divine or moral law; free from guilt or sin. Righteousness is the noun derived from righteous.

So what does the motto mean? It means that the life within the land is determined by the right acting ways of the people within the state and depends upon the people doing the right thing. Right actions in personal life as well as political (state) life can sum up the motto.

Historically, the motto was first thought to reflect the beliefs of the kingdom. King Kamehameha is said to have spoken these words in the early 1800's when he presided over what was known as the Kingdom of Hawaii. The motto has been used for more than two hundred years throughout the state of Hawaii on seals, gates and various key places in the Hawaiian Islands.

I believe that this motto did not come out of thin air but was based upon the beliefs of the original settlers of the Hawaiian Islands. It speaks of their relationship with 'Io, the benign and loving creator god. In Daniel Kikawa's book, Perpetuated in Righteousness, he tells of the first brave adventurers who "discovered" Hawaii.
"A great leap of faith was required to continue on into thousands of miles of empty blue on blue.In the northerly direction of this wonderful star, our ancestors searched for and found our new home. We had finally found the place 'Io had provided for us! Here we worshipped 'Io, in this land so much like Atea's first home." (My notes of clarification: Atea is the Hawaiian equivalent of Adam. They were following a star that was spoken of in their ancient prophecies.)
Throughout Hawaiian culture there are many things that indicate the desire of the Hawaiians to fulfill their state motto. "Aloha," "ohana" and "hanai" are some of those. See the Afterwards section of Kikawa's book for more details.

Have you observed anything in the Hawaiian culture that indicates the fulfillment of their state motto, "Perpetuated in Righteousness?"


  1. I have come across no other claims to this one. But, I have been to Hawaii, where I was addressed as "mother", or "grandmother" by the locals. I was considered part of their family.
    I love the desire to "Perpetuate in Righteousness". Excellent post.

  2. First, let me say that I am only a guest here and I truly respect your blog, you, and your followers, but there is something about the motto that troubles me. No, I can't put mu finger on it, but it troubles my spirit.

    I am trying, with no context other than what was provided, to understand what was meant by " the life of the land... What life, what type of life? What did they mean by perpetuation?

    Second, it is interesting. I did not know this, quite frankly, I don't know anything about Hawaii.

    So, I truly enjoyed learning something new. Thank you!
    Gregg Metcalf
    Colossians 1:28-29

    Gospel-driven Disciples

  3. Susan, thank you for your comment. Glad you were able to experience some of the Hawaiian culture.

    Gregg, thank you so much for your observations. I realize that the state motto doesn't make much sense especially in the light of so many negative things that have come out of Hawaii. That's one reason I provided the link to Daniel Kikawa's book that goes into great detail about the original belief system of the first Hawaiians. They worshiped the same God we worship but they knew nothing about His Son Jesus. God sovereignly prepared them for the arrival of the missionaries and within a very short time, the greatest revival in modern times took place in Hawaii. By the mid 1800's 96% of the population had turned to Christ. But as in so many places, the enemy found ways to undermine and destroy what God had done. We lost our 22 year old son on the Big Island in 1999 and we are believing God to bring revival once again to Hawaii. I really appreciated what you had to say on your blog and I will be a regular visitor. I think you would like Daniel Kikawa's book(s). Most people think that the religion of the Hawaiians revolves around totally pagan practices but all of that was brought in and imposed upon the original Hawaiians. Pray with us for revival. We believe what starts in Hawaii and also in Ireland/Wales will touch the whole world and discipleship is a key part in what needs to happen. Blessings to you!



Thank you for sharing your thoughts.