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Hawaii Greeting: panoramic view of Waikiki Beach with its hotels lined up behind the strip of sand and the extinct volcano Diamond Head in the distance, and a blossom of yellow hibiscus, the Hawaii state flower, in the foreground

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Hawaii State Motto

"Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono"

Hawaii State Seal

(The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness)

Adopted in July 31, 1843:

May 1, 1959

Language: Hawaiian

See Hawaii State Seal

"Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono" has been translated as: "The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness."

The motto was adopted by the Kingdom of Hawai'i in 1843. The saying is attributed to King Kamehameha III as of July 31, 1843, when the Hawaiian flag once more was raised after a brief period of unauthorized ursurpation of authority by a British admiral.

On May 1, 1959, Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono was adopted as the official motto of the State of Hawaii by Joint Resolution No. 4 of the 30th Territorial Legislature.

Hawaii State Motto:
"Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono"

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Hawaii

The words were used in an address by Kamehameha III at ceremonies following the return of his kingdom from the British. An English sea captain (Paulet) had, in effect, ceded Hawai'i to England, claiming large debts owed by the Hawaiian nobility. He was acting a bit beyond his authority, and Admiral Richard Thomas was dispatched to return sovereignty of the islands to the King. Thomas Square in Honolulu is named for the Admiral.

Before becoming the state of Hawaii's official motto, these words were part of the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Hawaii and the seals of the Republic of Hawaii and the Territory. King Kamehameha III issued this motto upon the restoration of the Hawaiian flag to the kingdom by the British in 1843.

Hawaii Constitution

The law designating the official Hawaii state motto is found in the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, Article 15, Section 5.

Article XV State Boundaries; Capital; Flag;

Section 5. The motto of the State shall be, "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono." [Add Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

Hawaii Law

The law designating the official Hawaii state motto is found in the Hawai`i Revised Statutes, Volume 1, Chapter 5, Section 5-9

Volume 1.

§5-9 State motto. The motto "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono," is adopted, established, and designated as the official motto of the State. It is translated into English to mean "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness." [L 1959, JR 4, §1; Supp, §14-5.3; HRS §5-9; am L 1979, c 145, §2]

Mottos of the States
What your Motto? US Official State Mottos
State motto is a word, phrase, or sentence inscribed on or attached to a coin, building, or other object. The motto states an important idea for a group of people within the state.
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