or Keoni Papa Īī
was a 19th century educator, politician and historian in the Kingdom of Hawaii
The Kingdom of Hawaii was established during the years 1795 to 1810 with the subjugation of the smaller independent chiefdoms of Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lānai, Kauai and Niihau by the chiefdom of Hawaii into one unified government...
Īī was born in 1800 and raised under the traditional kapu
Kapu refers to the ancient Hawaiian code of conduct of laws and regulations. The kapu system was universal in lifestyle, gender roles, politics, religion, etc. An offense that was kapu was often a corporal offense, but also often denoted a threat to spiritual power, or theft of mana. Kapus were...
system. He was the son of Kuaena, a Kona chief and his wife Wanaoa Kalaikane. His elder brother was Daniel Papa Īī, who was Kamehameha II
Kamehameha II was the second king of the Kingdom of Hawaii. His birth name was Liholiho and full name was Kalaninui kua Liholiho i ke kapu Iolani...
's playmate, was prominent in the church, and assisted in the legal reforms at the beginning of the Kingdom.
He was born at Waipio
Waipio is a census-designated place located in the Ewa District of the Island of Oahu in the City & County of Honolulu. In Hawaiian, wai pio means "curved water". As of the 2000 census, the CDP had a total population of 11,672.The U.S...
, Ewa, Oahu. His father and mother were minor chiefs destined to serve the higher chiefs as retainers and kahu
(royal attendant) for their children. Īī was trained from childhood for a life of service to the high chiefs. At the age of ten he was taken to Honolulu by his uncle Papa, a kahu
of Kamehameha I
Kamehameha I , also known as Kamehameha the Great, conquered the Hawaiian Islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810. By developing alliances with the major Pacific colonial powers, Kamehameha preserved Hawaii's independence under his rule...
, to become a companion and personal attendant to Prince Liholiho, who became King Kamehameha II in 1819. Īī was close to Liholiho during the young heir's instruction in the conduct of government and ancient religious rites. His master died in 1823 in England.
After Liholiho's death, Īī continued to serve the rulers of Hawai‘i and including being kahu for Victoria Kamamalu
Victoria Kamāmalu Kaahumanu IV , was Kuhina Nui of Hawaii and its crown princess. Princess Kamāmalu is one of Hawaii's less notable historical figures...
father of Mary Paaaina. Īī was selected to be kahu
of the students (effectively a vice principal) at the Chiefs' Children's School in 1840.
Throughout his life he was in constant contact with the political, religious, and social concerns of the court, as well as the common people. Īī was among the first Hawaiians to study reading and writing with the missionaries, yet although he adopted Christian teachings, he retained a profound love and respect for the culture of his ancestors.
Īī served as a general superintendent of Oahu schools and was an influential member in the court of Kamehameha III. In 1842, he was appointed by the king to the Treasury Board. He served as a member of the Privy Council 1845–1859 and in 1846 was appointed to the Board of Land Commissioners. Īī served in the House of Nobles
The Legislature of the Hawaiian Kingdom was the bicameral legislature of the Kingdom of Hawaii. A royal legislature was first provided by the 1840 Constitution and the 1852 Constitution was the first to use the term "Legislature of the Hawaiian Kingdom", and the first to subject the monarch to...
from 1841 to 1870. In 1852, he represented the House of Nobles in the drafting of the Constitution and became the Speaker of the House of Nobles. He served as a member of the House of Representatives during the session of 1855. He served from 1848 as a superior court judge, and from 1852 to 1864 as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the Kingdom.
Īī died on May 2, 1870.
He left a first-hand account chronicled in a series of articles in the Hawaiian language
The Hawaiian language is a Polynesian language that takes its name from Hawaii, the largest island in the tropical North Pacific archipelago where it developed. Hawaiian, along with English, is an official language of the state of Hawaii...
newspaper Ka Nupepa Ku'oko'a
from 1866 until his death. These were translated by Mary Kawena Pukui
Mary Abigail Kawenaulaokalaniahiiakaikapoliopelekawahineaihonuaināleilehuaapele Wiggin Pukui , known as Kawena, was a Hawaiian scholar, dancer, composer, and educator.-Life:...
and published in 1959 as "Fragments of Hawaiian History", which describes life under Kamehameha, through his personal experiences and descriptions of the pattern of Hawaiian culture during a period of great significance in the history of the Hawaiian Kingdom. A second edition was edited by Dorothy Barrère and published in 1983.
His married Sarai Hiwauli, the widow of Haʻalou, a chief executed for adultery. His only child was daughter Irene Kahalelauko-a-Kamāmalu Īī. On September 30, 1886 Irene married Charles Augustus Brown and had sons George Īī Brown on October 19, 1887 and Francis H. Ii Brown on September 16, 1892. A daughter Bernice died young.
She divorced Brown in 1898 and married Carl Sheldon Holloway who died on July 26, 1915.
The lands that John Īī had been awarded were put into a trust called the John Īī Estate, Limited, which was the subject of a lawsuit due to ambiguity in the original will. She died August 22, 1922.