Royal Order of Kamehameha I (decoration)

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Order of Kamehameha I
Badge of the Order
Country the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi
Motto E HOOKANAKA (Order of Fraternity)
Grades Knight Grand Cross with Collar
Knight Grand Cross
Knight Commander
Knight Companion
Next (higher) None
Next (lower) Royal Order of Kalākaua
Royal Order of Kamehameha I Grand Cross.gif
Grand Cross and Grand Collar ribbon
Royal Order of Kamehameha I Commander and Companion.gif
Commander and Companion ribbon

The Order of Kamehameha I was the second Knightly Order of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.


Granting the insignia and awards of the Order was determined by the number of living members of the Order. At any given time there could only be:

  • Royal Order of Kamehameha I Grand Cross.gif Knight Grand Cross with Collar (CGCOK) - limited to heads of state
  • Royal Order of Kamehameha I Grand Cross.gif Knight Grand Cross (KGCOK) - 10 individuals
  • Royal Order of Kamehameha I Commander and Companion.gif Knights Commander (KCOK) - 30 individuals
  • Royal Order of Kamehameha I Commander and Companion.gif Knights Companion (KOK) - 50 individuals


The Order of Kamehameha I was founded on 11 April 1865 by King Kamehameha V in memory of his grandfather King Kamehameha I and in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. This Order was granted to both Native Hawaiians and foreigners for distinguished service to the king and the people of Hawaiʻi. Upon its inception, it became the first Knightly Order of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi actually awarded, although the Royal Order of the Cross and Crown was established by King Kamehameha III in 1848 but not awarded until much later.

In the duration of the Order, it was awarded 57 times by King Kamehameha V, and 82 times by King Kalākaua. Number of awards in the history of the Order:

  • Knights Grand Cross - 40 recipients[1]
  • Knight Commander - 56 recipients
  • Knight Companion - 43 recipients

In the past Recipients of the Order who were resident in the Hawaiian Islands received a yearly salary depending upon their grade: $250 for the Knights Grand Cross, $150 for the Knight Commander, $75 for the Knight.

Today the former Royal House of Keoua awards the order as family order.

Grand Council[edit]

The Grand Council of Order, comprising the Order's Cavaliers resident on the Hawaiian islands, convened yearly. Members absent from the annual meeting without a written message for a valid reason were penalized $20. Among Royal Hawaiian Orders, only this and the Royal Order of Kalākaua I gathered at regular intervals.

Insignia of the Order[edit]

The insignia consists of a Maltese cross in gold or silver with white enamel surmounted by the Hawaiian crown. Rays of gold or silver are found between the arms of the cross. Enameled in blue and white and centered on the cross is a circular shield, the center of which is inscribed and elaborate K. On the periphery of the shield, in a blue band, is the inscription KAMEHAMEHA I, beneath which are two laurel branches - all in gold. On the badge's reverse, around the shield is inscribed E HOOKANAKA (Order of Fraternity).

  • Knight Grand Cross with Collar: The insignia are a gold collar chain and a breast star. The collar chain is sectional and comprises alternating monograms "K" and Hawaiian crowns. The central component of the chain is the monogram "K" surrounded by an open laurel crown with leaves of Viennese green enamel; this is flanked by small enameled badges of the Order. Hanging from the central component is the badge of the Order. The breast star is identical to that of the Knights Grands Cross, as detailed below.
  • Knight Grand Cross: The insignia of the Knights Grand cross comprises a breast star, and the badge of the Order and worn on a grand cordon sash. The breast star is an octagonal silver star to which is affixed the badge of Order without the crown - in gold. The sash is red with a white stripe bordering the edge. The badge of the Order in brilliants is fastened to a bow on the sash on a bow, resting on the left hip.
  • Knight Commander: The insignia of the Knights Commander Cross comprises a badge of the Order worn on a neck ribbon of four alternating white and blue stripes.
  • Knight: The Knights Companion cross comprises a breast badge suspended by a ribbon of red and blue stripes.


Among those awarded with Knights Grand cross were:

The Knights Grand Cross with Collar was awarded on two occasions, to Queen Victoria of Great Britain and to Emperor Meiji of Japan.



  1. ^ 11 Hawaiian subjects, 29 foreigners.
  2. ^ a b c The Royal Tourist—Kalakaua's Letters Home from Tokio to London. Editor: Richard A. Greer. Date: 10 March 1881


  • Medcalf, Donald & Ronald Russell (1978). Hawaiian Money: Standard Catalog: Includes Tokens, Medals & Royal Orders. Honolulu: Nani Stamp & Coin LTD. ISBN 0-931388-00-7.
  • Werlich, Robert (1965). Orders & Decorations of All Nations: Ancient & Modern, Civil & Military. Quaker Press. ISBN 1-151-37961-1.