One person who was a change catalyst...
King Kamehameha the Great (1758-1819), Hawaii's first monarch, conquered and unified the islands in 1810, then led his kingdom in peace until his death in 1819.
He was beloved and revered for his physical strength, brilliant mind, and compassion. Islanders believed Kamehameha possessed mana, the spiritual power from the gods.
The visionary Kamehameha established a government with strong British influence. He increased trade and industry and improved agricultural production by planting pineapple and coffee. With courage and skill he transformed Hawaii into a prosperous nation.
"The good I have done will always remain," Kamehameha said at his deathbed. ("E nai wale no oukou i kuu pono, aole e pau.")
Today Hawaii observes his birth with a state holiday and celebrations of parades with colorful floral floats, marching bands, Pa'u riders, music, song, and hula. As an integral part of the festivities, hundreds of fragrant leis up to 18' long will be draped over the King Kamehameha Statue.
One of the most famous sights in Downtown Honolulu, the bronze statue of black and gold was sculpted by American Thomas Gould in Italy and has faced Iolani Palace since 1883.
The proud king is nine feet tall and wears a gold-leaf feathered helmet and cloak. He stands outside Aliiolani Hale, the state Judiciary Building.
When Kamehameha the Great died, his bones were carefully hidden. "Only the stars know his final resting place," claimed Hawaiian legend. "Under his leadership," wrote Julie Stewart Williams, "the people lived a peaceful and productive life."
One person can change the world.