Hawaii State FlagHawaii State Flag

Adopted in 1894.

The state flag of Hawaii was adopted in 1894. Hawaii's state flag resembles the Union Jack of Great Britain because many of King Kamehameha's advisors were British and the islands were once placed under England's protection. The flag consists of eight horizontal stripes, representing the eight major islands, and the British Union Jack. It has served as the flag of the kingdom, republic, territory, and the state of Hawaii.

The Hawaii State Flag

Hawaii, an independent kingdom (1810 - 1893)

Before the English explorer Captain James Cook came to the Hawaiian Islands in 1776, the Hawaiians did not use flags. They instead displayed distinctive marks. In 1794, King Kamehameha of Hawaii was given a British flag by Captain George Vancouver. It is believed that he was the first to raise a flag in Hawaii. Until 1816, Hawaii was under British protection.

The flag was designed at the request of King Kamehameha I. It has eight stripes of white, red and blue that represent the eight main islands. The flag of Great Britain is emblazoned in the upper left corner to honor Hawaii's friendship with the British.

The flag of the state of Hawaii (Hawaiian: Ka Hae Hawaii) is the official standard symbolizing Hawaii as a U.S. state. The same flag had also previously been used by the kingdom, protectorate, republic, and territory of Hawaii. It is the only U.S. state flag to feature the Union Jack of the United Kingdom, a remnant of the period in Hawaiian history when it was associated with the British Empire.





1794 - 1816  Hawaii flew Union Jack as its National Flag 
1793-1794 British Red Ensign British-Red-Ensign-1707
1794-1816 Flag of Great Britain (probably not updated in 1801) Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors)
1816-1843 Early version of the present flag Flag of Hawaii 1816
Feb 1843 -
July 1843
Union Flag (during the Paulet Affair)British occupation; all Hawaiian Flags were destroyed Flag of the United Kingdom
July 1843 - May 1845 Early version of the present flag 31 July 1843. King Kamehameha III spoke his famous prayer of thanksgiving, a part of which serves today as the State Motto while a Hawaiian Flag that included a dove and olive branch was hoisted. Flag of Hawaii 1816
May 1845 - Feb 1893 20 May 1845 present Hawaiian Flag adopted Flag of Hawaii
Feb 1893 -
Apr 1893
US Flag (after the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii) US flag 44 stars
1894-1898 Hawaiian flag re-adopted by the Republic of Hawaii Flag of Hawaii
1898-1959 Hawaiian flag used by the US territory of Hawaii
(confirmed 1903)
US flag 48 stars Flag of Hawaii
1959-present Hawaiian flag used by the state of Hawaii
(confirmed 1959)
Flag of the United States Flag of Hawaii

Hawaii Flag Law

The Hawaii Revised Statutes, Volume 1, Chapter 5

Volume 1.

[§5-18] State flag. As used in this [chapter], unless the context otherwise requires:

"Flag" means any flag, standard, color, ensign, or any picture or representation of either made of any substance or represented on any substance, and of any size, evidently purporting to be, either of, the flag, standard, color, or ensign of the State of Hawaii or a picture or representation, of either upon which shall be shown the jack, the colors and stripes in any number of either, or by which the person seeing the same without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag, colors, standard, or ensign of the State of Hawaii. [L 1990, c 215, pt of §2]

[§5-19] Description of the Hawaiian flag.
The official description of the Hawaiian flag as authorized to represent the State of Hawaii on land and sea, and authorized for executive state agencies, second to the stars and stripes of the United States shall be:

(1) The Hawaiian flag shall consist of eight horizontal stripes, alternately white, red, blue, etc., beginning at the top, having a jack cantoned in the dexter chief angle next to the point of suspension;

(2) The jack shall consist of a blue field charged with a compound saltire (crossing) of alternate tincture white and red, the white having precedence; a narrow edge of white borders each red side of the saltire;

(3) A red cross bordered with white is charged (placed) over all;

(4) The proportion shall be as follows:

(A) The fly (length) is twice the hoist (width);

(B) The jack is half the hoist (width) in breadth and 7-16 the fly in length;

(C) The arms of the red cross with border shall be equal in width to one of the horizontal stripes; the white border shall be one-third the width of the red cross;

(D) The arms of the compound saltire (crossing) are equal in width to the red cross, the tinctures white, red, and the border being in the proportion of 3, 2, 1, respectively.

When the Hawaiian flag is flown from the same halyard as the flag of the United States of America is flown, it shall be underneath the national colors.

The Hawaiian flag shall not be used to cover a platform or speaker's desk, nor to drape over the front of a speaker's platform.

When the Hawaiian flag and the flag of the United States of America are displayed on a speaker's platform at the same time, the Hawaiian flag shall be on the left side of the speaker, the speaker's left, while the flag of the United States of America is on the right side of the speaker, the speaker's right.

When the Hawaiian flag is used to cover a casket, it shall be so placed that the jack is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag shall not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

To fold the Hawaiian flag ceremoniously, first fold it lengthwise, bringing the striped half up over the jack. Then repeat, with the jack on the outside. Beginning at the lower right, make a series of triangular folds until the flag resembles a cocked hat with only the jack visible.

The Hawaiian flag shall be flown at half-mast by first raising it to the top of the flagpole, and then slowly lowering it to a position one-fourth of the distance down the flagpole, and there leaving it during the time it is to be displayed. In taking the flag down, it shall first be raised to the top of the flagpole, and then slowly lowered with appropriate ceremony.

When the Hawaiian flag is in such condition of repair that it is no longer a suitable emblem for displaying, it shall be totally destroyed, preferably by burning, and that privately; or this shall be done by some other method in keeping with the spirit of respect and reverence that all owe the emblem that represents the Aloha State of Hawaii. [L 1990, c 215, pt of §2]


The former Hawaiian flag is described in L 1896, c 10 and CL §23.

Cross References

State flag, see Const. Art. XV, §3.

[§5-20] Public display of Hawaiian flag; position.
On every occasion of public display of the Hawaiian flag, within the State of Hawaii, it shall occupy the position of honor when displayed in company with the flags of other states, nations or international organizations; provided, however, that when the United States flag is displayed with the Hawaiian flag, the national flag shall occupy such position of honor. [L 1990, c 215, pt of §2]

The Constitution of the State of Hawaii, Article 15, Section 3.

Section 3. The Hawaiian flag shall be the flag of the State. [Ren Const Con 1978 and election Nov 7, 1978]

State Flags
State Flags

The Flags of the US.