The Great Māhele: Its Causes, Goals, and Outcomes

July 12, 2016 @ 5:00 am – 6:30 am
Lyman Museum
276 Haili St
Hilo, HI 96720
Free to Lyman Museum members; $3 nonmembers.
Kamehameha III military_uniform

Portrait of King Kamehameha III by Alfred Agate, circa 1842. Public Domain.

Referred to as the Great Māhele (or more often today, the Māhele), this pivotal event in Hawaiian history occurred between 1845 and 1855, when the kingdom was in the midst of a series of economic and social transitions, and when Kamehameha III was anxiously looking for a way forward.  Having survived recent intrusions on his sovereignty from the French and British, the King sought the advice of his counselors, both domestic and foreign.  The result was the Act to Quiet Land Titles, approved by the Hawaiian Legislature in 1844, authorizing the creation of the Board of Commissioners to Quiet Land Titles, and setting in motion this ten-year process that would transform the lives of hundreds of thousands.  “To share” or “to distribute” are among the meanings of māhele, and this seemingly generous act by the King—agreeing to share the Islands with his ali‘i—was designed to solve a number of problems for the 30-year-old monarch.

What would lead a king to make such a gesture?  What did he and his advisors hope to accomplish by it, and were these goals met?  Tonight, Hawai‘i Island historian Boyd D. Bond surveys the who, what, when, where, and why of this turning point in the development of modern Hawai‘i.

Free to Lyman Museum members; $3 nonmembers.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for evening public programs.

Limited seating; first come, first seated.  Additional parking next door at Hilo Union School.  (Click here to see map of additional parking)