Governors of Maui

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The Governor of Maui (Hawaiian: Kiaʻaina o Maui) was the royal governor or viceroy of the Island of Maui in the Kingdom of Hawaii. The Governor of Maui resided at Lahaina and was usually a Hawaiian chief or prince and could even be a woman. The governor had authority over four of the eight islands: Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, and Kahoʻolawe. It was up to the governor to appoint lieutenant governors to assist them. The governor had replaced the old Moʻi of Maui, but sovereignty remained with the king. The island governors were under the jurisdiction of the Ministers of the Interiors.


The 1840 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii stated:

There shall be four governors over these Hawaiian Islands - one for Hawaiʻi - one for Maui and the Islands adjacent - one for Oʻahu, and one for Kauaʻi and the adjacent Islands. All the governors, from Hawaiʻi to Kauaʻi shall be subject to the King.

The prerogatives of the governors and their duties, shall be as follows: Each governor shall have the general direction of the several tax gatherers of his island, and shall support them in the execution of all their orders which he considers to have been properly given, but shall pursue a course according to law, and not according to his own private views. He also shall preside over all the judges of his island, and shall see their sentences executed as above. He shall also appoint the judges and give them their certificates of office.

All the governors, from Hawaiʻi to Kauaʻi shall be subject not only to the King, but also to the Premier.

The governor shall be the superior over his particular island or islands. He shall have charge of the munitions of war, under the direction of the King, however, and the Premier. He shall have charge of the forts, the soldiery, the arms and all the implements of war. He shall receive the government dues and shall deliver over the same to the Premier. All important decisions rest with him in times of emergency, unless the King or Premier be present. He shall have charge of all the King's business on the island, the taxation, new improvements to be extended, and plans for the increase of wealth, and all officers shall be subject to him. He shall also have power to decide all questions, and transact all island business which is not by law assigned to others.

When either of the governors shall decease, then all the chiefs shall assemble at such place as the King shall appoint, and shall nominate a successor of the deceased governor, and whosoever they shall nominate and be approved by the King, he shall be the new governor.

When Hawaii was annexed by the United States of America, the same islands became administered by the Maui County government.


After King Kalākaua was forced to sign the Bayonet Constitution in 1887, the island governorships began to be viewed as wasteful expenses for the monarchy. The governors and governesses at the time (who were mainly royals or nobles) were also viewed as unfit to appoint the native police forces and condemned for "their refusal to accept their removal or reform by sheriffs or the marshal". The island governorships were abolished by two acts: the first act, on December 8, 1887, transferred the power of the police appointment to the island sheriffs, and the second, An Act To Abolish The Office Of Governor, which officially abolished the positions, on August 23, 1888. King Kalākaua refused to approve the 1888 act, but his veto was overridden by two-third of the legislature. These positions were restored under the An Act To Establish A Governor On Each Of The Islands Of Oahu, Maui, Hawaii and Kauai on November 14, 1890, with the effective date of January 1, 1891. One significant change was this act made it illegal for a woman to be governor ending the traditional practice of appointing female royals and nobles as governess. Kalākaua died prior to reappointing any of the island governors, but his successor Liliuokalani restored the positions at different dates between 1891 and 1892. After the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii, the Provisional Government of Hawaii repealed the 1890 act and abolished these positions on February 28, 1893 for the final time.[1][2][3][4][5]

List of Governors of Maui[edit]

Name Picture Birth Death Assumed Office Left Office Notes Monarch
Keʻeaumoku Pāpaʻiahiahi c. 1736 March 21, 1804 c. 1795 March 21, 1804 Kamehameha I
George Cox Kahekili Keʻeaumoku II
Cox Keeaumoku-closeup.jpg
c. 1784 March 23, 1824 March 21, 1804 March 23, 1824 Kamehameha I
Kamehameha II
Kahakuhaʻakoi Wahine Piʻo
c. 1826 c. 1824 c. 1826?? Kamehameha III
Ulumāheihei Hoapili
Hoapili (closeup).jpg
c. 1776 January 3, 1840 c. 1826??? January 3, 1840 Kamehameha III
Hoapiliwahine Kalākua Kaheiheimālie
Kalakua Kaheiheimalie.jpg
c. 1778 January 16, 1842 January 3, 1840 January 16, 1842 Governor Hoapili's widow Kamehameha III
James Young Kānehoa
James Young Kanehoa-closeup.jpg
August 7, 1797 October 1, 1851 c. 1842 October 1, 1851 Kamehameha III
Paul Nahaolelua
Governor Nahaolelua.jpg
c. 1806 September 15, 1875 December 3, 1852 February 3, 1874 Governor Kānehoa's Deputy Kamehameha III
Kamehameha IV
Kamehameha V
John Mākini Kapena
John Makini Kapena-closeup.jpg
1843 October 23, 1887 February 23, 1874 1876 Luther Aholo served as acting governor from November 1874 to February 1875 Kalākaua
William Luther Kealiʻi Moehonua
William Luther Moehonua.jpg
May 5, 1824 September 8, 1878 December 15, 1876 September 8, 1878 Kalākaua
John Owen Dominis
Gov. John Owen Dominis.jpg
March 10, 1832 August 27, 1891 September 9, 1878 c. 1886 Luther Aholo served as lieutenant governor. Kalākaua
Robert Hoapili Baker
Robert Hoapili Baker, ca. 1890.jpg
c. 1847 April 4, 1900 October 4, 1886 August 23, 1888 Kalākaua
Thomas Wright Everett November 4, 1823 September 4, 1895 May 17, 1892 February 28, 1893 previously Sheriff of Maui Liliʻuokalani


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Newbury, Colin (2001). "Patronage and Bureaucracy in the Hawaiian Kingdom, 1840–1893". Pacific Studies. Laie, HI: Brigham Young University, Hawaii Campus. 24 (1–2): 1–38. OCLC 607265842. Archived from the original on 2012-04-15.
  2. ^ An Act To Abolish The Office Of Governor. Laws of His Majesty Kalakaua, King of the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu: Gazette Publishing Company. August 23, 1888. p. 101.
  3. ^ An Act To Establish A Governor On Each Of The Islands Of Oahu, Maui, Hawaii and Kauai. Laws of His Majesty Kalakaua, King of the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu: Gazette Publishing Company. November 14, 1890. pp. 159–160.
  4. ^ Act 19 – An Act to Repeal an Act Entitled 'An Act to Establish a Governor on Each of the Islands of Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai'. Laws of the Provisional Government of the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu: Robert Grieve, Steam Book And Job Printer. February 27, 1893. p. 44.
  5. ^ "Governors (island)" (PDF). official archives. state of Hawaii. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 21, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2009.
  6. ^ "Governor of Maui, Molokai and Lanai" (PDF). official archives. state of Hawaii. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 21, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2009.