Known as the “Merrie Monarch,” King David Kalākaua has been misunderstood by historians, most writing from the perspective of the opposition. The Hawaiian community, in fact, the world at large at the time acknowledged the Monarch to a far greater degree for his keen intellect and sophisticated diplomacy.
Dr. Tiffany Lani Ing, from Mānoa, O‘ahu has a Ph. D. in English from The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and currently is an English teacher on the faculty at at Hālau Kū Māna.
Her book, Reclaiming Kalākaua: Nineteenth-Century Perspectives on a Hawaiian Sovereign (UH Press), examines ka Mōʻī David La‘amea Kamananakapu Mahinulani Nalaiaehuokalani Lumialani Kalākaua in English- and Hawaiian-language newspapers, books, travelogues, and other materials published in the United States, abroad, and in Hawai‘i during his reign. Her interests include nineteenth-century Hawaiian-language newspapers, nineteenth-century Kānaka ʻŌiwi narratives of Native nationalism, and post-colonial, indigenous discourse and theory.
In recent years, vast stores of Hawaiian language newspapers and correspondence have become more accessible. Through the work of dedicated curators, these works have become electronically available and searchable, meaningfully catalogued and dutifully authenticated.
Dr. Tiffany Ing, HKM Kumu has compiled a reframed history of the Merry Monarch that reveals a beloved and benevolent voice for his people, who was respected and admired as opposed to the less complimentary tales penned by those whose agendas differed.
Don’t take our word for it – read it yourself. We think you will find yourself admiring and genuinely liking the man behind the medals.
The text below is from a flyer for Dr. Ing’s talk at the State Archives in October of 2020.
We are so proud to have such a committed and accomplished member of our ‘Ohana! Whenever one of us thrives, it raises all of us higher – and what better way to do it than to reclaim for the la hui the correct(ed) history of a maligned monarch.
So much of what he did was misunderstood by the foreign press at the time, and by reviewing the Hawaiian language media reports and the correspondence of Alii Nui of that time, the portrait that emerges is that of a King more concerned with the welfare and legacy of his people than his own.
Hana Hoū Dr. Ing!