First Hawaiian National Anthem

Hawai‘i State Archives
First Hawaiian National Anthem.
Ka Nūpepa Kū‘oko‘a.
Reprinted. Jan. 7, 1871.


The first Hawaiian National Anthem resulted from a song contest.

Hawai‘i had no original national anthem prior to 1862. On state occasions when protocol required one, the British anthem “God Save the King” was adopted.

The Hawaiian language newspaper, Ka Nūpepa Kū‘oko‘a, wishing to promote a Hawaiian national song sponsored an anthem writing contest in 1861. The rules specified four stanzas in the Hawaiian language, but still set to the tune of God Save the King.

Fifteen anonymous entries were submitted. In January of 1862, the judges chose an entry titled “E Ola ka Mō‘ī i ke Akua” as the winner. The composer was Prince William Lunalilo, age 27, and his prize was $10.00

E Ola ka Mō‘ī i ke Akua was used as Hawai‘i’s national anthem from 1862-1863, the last year of the reign of King Kamehameha IV, and again during Lunalilo's own reign as King in 1873-1874.