Hawaii State Song

"Hawai'i Pono'i"

Written by King David Kalakaua
Music by Prof. Henry Berger, the Royal Bandmaster

Adopted on June 13, 1967.

"Hawai'i Pono'i" was the Kingdom of Hawaii's national anthem from 1876 to 1893. On June 13, 1967, the State Legislature adopted it as Hawaii's state song.

Hawaii State Song: "Hawai'i Pono'i"

"Hawai'i Pono'i"

Hawai'i Pono'i
Hawai'i pono'i
Nana i kou Mo'i
Ka Lani Ali'i
Ke Ali'i


Makua Lani e
Kamehameha E
Na kaua e pale
Me ke ihe

Hawai'i pono'i
Nana i na Ali'i
Na pua muli kou
Na poki'i


Hawai'i pono'i
E ka Lahui e
'O kau hana nui
E u'i e


Hawai'i's own
Look to your King
The Royal Chief
The Chief


Royal Father
We shall defend
With spears

Hawai'i's own
Look to your Chiefs
The children after you
The young

Hawai'i's own
O Nation
Your great duty

Word for Word Literal Translation

Hawaii ponoi Nana i kou, moi
Hawai'i's own people, look to your sovereign,

Kalani Alii, ke Alii.
The royal/divine/heavenly chief/royalty , the chief/royalty


Makua lani e, Kamehameha e,
Parent royal/divine/heavenly, "The Lonely",

Na kaua e pale Me ka ihe.
The wars to protect/ward off, with the spear.

Hawai'i pono'i Nana i na Ali'i,
Hawai`i's own people, look to the chiefs / royalty,

Na pua muli kou Na poki'i
The descendants following yours, the younger siblings.


Hawai'i pono'i E ka Lahui e
Hawai`i's own people, o the nation,

`O kau hana nui E u'i e
... your work/duty important/big, to turn for help or advice.


Origin of Song: "Hawai'i Pono'i"

The Hawaiian Kingdom's national anthem, entitled "Hawai'i Pono'i," was composed by His Majesty King David Kalakaua in 1876 honoring King Kamehameha I, the "Merrie Monarch", founder of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1810.   The music was arranged by Captain Henry Berger, Bandmaster of the Royal Hawaiian Band, and was based on the Prussian hymn "Heil Dir Im Siegerkranz". It served as the national anthem of the Kingdom and the Territory of Hawaii from 1876 to 1893, until the overthrow of the royalty and the annexation of Hawai`i by the United States government. In 1967, the legislature declared it as the official song of Hawaii. Novemeber 16, 1974- Hawai'i Pono'i ("Hawai'i's Own") first performed in Ka-wai-a-Ha'o Church.

According to Emerson Smith, "Hawai'i Pono'i" originated as another version of "God Save the King" with Hawaiian verses by King Kala-kaua but was transmitted into a great anthem through the artistry of Captain Henry Berger. The music and English translation were printed in Smith (1955:vol. 67, no. 4, pp. 14-15, 26) and in Emerson (1909:172).

1. Alii (ah-lee-ee) sovereign
2. Kamehameha (Kah-may'-ha-may'-ha) king who first unified the islands.
3. Ihe (ee-hay) spear

Hawaii Law

The law designating the song "Hawai`i Pono`i"  as the official Hawaii state song is found in the Hawai`i Revised Statutes, Volume 1, Chapter 5, Section 5-10

Volume 1.

§5-10 State song. The song "Hawai`i Pono`i" is adopted, established, and designated as the official song of the State, to be effective for as long as the legislature of the State does not otherwise provide. [L 1967, c 301, §2; HRS §5-10; am L 1990, c 215, §3]

State Songs
US State Songs
Forty-nine states of the United States (all except New Jersey) have one or more state songs, selected by the state legislature as a symbol of the state.