Royal Order of Kalākaua

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Royal Order of Kalākaua I
Kalākaua I e Hookanaka
Badge of the Order
Award of Kingdom of Hawaiʻi
Type Order of merit
Grades (w/ post-nominals) Knight Grand Cross with Collar
Knight Grand Cross
Grand Officer
Established 28 September 1875
Next (higher) Royal Order of Kamehameha I
Next (lower) Royal Order of Kapiolani
The Royal Order of Kalakaua I Grand Cross.gif
Grand Cross ribbon
Order of Kalakaua Companion.gif
Grand Officer, Commander, and Companion ribbon

The Royal Order of Kalākaua I (Kalākaua I e Hookanaka) was instituted on 28 September 1875 by King Kalākaua I to commemorate his accession to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi on 12 February 1874. This order was granted to both native Hawaiians and foreigners for superlative service to the monarch and to the kingdom. It was last conferred by Queen Liliʻuokalani on 1 August 1892; in 1893, the Order became obsolete.


The Order was awarded in four grades with an additional superior class:[1]

  • Knights Grand Cross with Collar[2]
  • Knights Grand Cross
  • Grand Officer
  • Commander
  • Companion

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:

  • Knights Grand Cross - 12 individuals
  • Grand Officer - 20 individuals
  • Commander - 50 individuals
  • Companion (Knight) - 60 individuals

In the duration the Order, it was granted 239 times by King Kalākaua I, and 15 times by his sister Queen Liliʻuokalani.

Number of awards in the history of the Order:

  • Knights Grand Cross - 38 recipients
  • Grand Officer Star - 49 recipients
  • Commander Cross - 95 recipients[3]
  • Companion Cross - 73 recipeients


Recipients of the Order who were residents in the Hawaiian islands received a yearly salary depending upon their grade: $150 for the Knights Grand Cross, $125 for the Grand Officer Star, $100 for the Commander Cross and $50 for the Knight.

Grand Council[edit]

The Grand Council of Order, which consists of the Order's Cavaliers resident on the Hawaiian islands, convened yearly on 12 February. Members absent from the annual meeting and without a written message stating as such without a valid reason, were penalized $20. Of all the Royal Hawaiian Orders, only this one and the Royal Order of Kamehameha I gathered at regular intervals.

Insignia of the Order[edit]


The badge of the order is a Maltese cross in gold or silver with Prussian blue and white enamel, surmounted by a Hawaiian crown. The arms of the cross have a border strip of white enamel, the center being blue - separated by a thin band of gold or silver. A gold or silver wreath and a puloulou (kapu sticks - ball and stick insignia) is found between the arms connecting them. On the cross is a blue and white enamel locket. On a white strip, the inscription KALAKAUA FEBRUARY 12 1874 circles a kāhili (feathered standard of royalty) on a background of blue. The reverse comprises a locket of blue and white. At the center of the locket is the date 1874, surrounded by the inscription KEOLA (eternal life) - both in gold.

Knights Grand Cross with Collar[edit]

The insignia are a collar chain and a breast star. The collar chain is composed of alternating monograms "K.I.K." and kahili of red and yellow enamel. The central component of the chain, from which is hung the badge of the Order, is the monogram "K.I.K." surrounded by a gold wreath. The breast star is identical to that of the Knights Grands Cross, as detailed below.

Knights Grand Cross[edit]

The insignia of the Knights Grand cross comprises a breast star, the badge of the Order and 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 deep blue. The badge of the Order is fastened to a bow on the sash on a bow, resting on the left hip.

Grand Officer Star[edit]

The insignia of Grand Officer Star is only a breast star. Initially, the size of the cross affixed to the star was smaller than that of the Knights Grand Cross; however from 1879 onwards, both were identical in size. The wreath of Grand Officer Star is silver.

Commander Cross[edit]

The insignia of the Commander Cross is identical that of the Grand Officer Star, except it is worn on a neck ribbon of five alternating white and blue stripes.

Companion Cross[edit]

The Companion Cross comprises a breast badge suspended by a ribbon of white and blue stripes.


Among those awarded with Knights Grand Cross were:

The Knights Grand Cross with Collar was bestowed twice in the Order's history - both times by King Kalākaua I - first to the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward, and second to King Kalākaua I by himself.


  1. ^ Aliʻi could not be officially conferred the Order, however they were permitted to wear the insignia of the Knight's Grand Cross.
  2. ^ Limited to heads of state and Hawaiian princes and princesses.
  3. ^ Abolished 11 September 1885
  4. ^ 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.