KITV News 4
January 16, 2019
by Mackenzie Stasko
HONOLULU - A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would replace Presidents Day with a holiday that recognizes the Kingdom of Hawaii's independence.
The holiday is known as La Ku'oko'a. It was first recognized on November 28, 1843, when Great Britain and France acknowledged the Hawaiian Islands as an independent nation. It was widely celebrated under the Kingdom of Hawai'i and during the initial years of the Territory of Hawai'i, until it was dropped as a holiday in 1903, according to the Hawai'i State Archives.
Sen. J. Kalani English plans on introducing a bill this legislative session that would reinstate La Ku'oko'a as a state holiday and replace it with Presidents Day, which is held every February.
He explained, "You know, Texas celebrates Texas Independence Day; the day Texas broke from Mexico and declared their independence. Alaska celebrates Stewards Day; the guy who signed the treaty with Russia to buy Alaska. So we feel this is really important."
La Ku'oko'a is still celebrated by many residents statewide, but is not an official holiday.
"Looking back at the history, every government in Hawai'i recognized this and had it as a holiday," said English. "What sparked us drafting this bill, is that it was being celebrated in Hawai'i by Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians, but it's not officially recognized."
The bill must first pass through the Senate and then the House.