Thursday, December 13, 2012

Curtis P. ʻIaukea

No, not Curtis “Da Bull” ʻIaukea (professional wrestler in the 1960s-70s;) this story is about that guy’s great grandfather, Curtis Piʻehu ʻIaukea, born December 13, 1855, at Waimea, Hawaiʻi.  He is the son of JW and Lahapa (Nalanipo) ʻIaukea.  His father was district magistrate of Hāmākua for many years, and the family was well known on the Big Island.

ʻIaukea was reared in Honolulu under the direction of his uncle, Kaihupaʻa, an old-time retainer of the chiefs and a personal attendant to King Kamehameha III.

He was raised at the former Chief’s Children’s School (the school, started in 1840, had been given up in 1850 and used as the home for retainers of the royal family.)   As Kamehameha III’s retainer, Kaihupaʻa lived there and ʻIaukea was reared to also serve as retainer of royalty.

“The place was known as Halepoepoe, (meaning circular or round house) so-called because of the quadrangle or court forming the central portion of the building.”  (ʻIaukea)

“Of the more vivid and enduring of my boyhood impressions, I recall the days when, as a bare footed urchin of five and six, I used to romp around the Palace Grounds, dancing attendance on royalty in the role of page and valet to His Royal Highness, the Prince of Hawaiʻi - Ka Haku-o-Hawaiʻi (Prince Albert, son of Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma,) as he was more familiarly known amongst royalty and Hawaiians, then, well on in his fourth year and in the full enjoyment of health and happy childhood.” (ʻIaukea)

As a ward of the government, ʻIaukea was educated under Archdeacon Mason of the Anglican Church in Hawaii at ʻIolani College, then directed by the Church of England.

In 1872, upon the death of King Kamehameha V, who had sent Mr. ʻIaukea to Lāhainā to learn sugar operations, he went to Hilo to live with his sister. It was there that King Kalākaua, on royal tour of the islands, saw the young man and commanded him to resume his place at the royal palace.  In 1880 Mr. ʻIaukea was chief secretary of the department of foreign affairs.

“One of the most accomplished of the younger Hawaiians, Colonel Curtis Piʻehu ʻIaukea, was on his way around the world as a special envoy on what may be described as a good will mission, to keep alive or reawaken the pleasant feeling brought into being by King Kalākaua’s journey, and to perform certain special diplomatic errands; he was to go first to the United States and Europe, thence to Egypt, India, and, finally, Japan, where he was expected to arrive at the end of 1883 or the early part of 1884. One of his errands was to investigate in London and India the possibilities for Indian immigration.”  (Kuykendall)

Specific duties entrusted to ʻIaukea were: (1) to represent Hawaiʻi at the coronation of the czar of Russia; (2) to serve as Hawaiʻi's commissioner to the Great International Fisheries Exhibition in London; (3) to negotiate regarding immigration to Hawaiʻi from British India, the Philippine Islands and Japan; (4) to attend to the exchange of decorations between the king of Hawaiʻi and the rulers of several other countries; (5) to deliver commissions to persons selected by him to serve as Hawaiian consuls in several designated areas.

His mission in Japan resulted in the admission of Japanese laborers to the sugar plantations of Hawaiʻi.  Although a formal treaty was not established, Japanese leadership stated they would not block immigration to Hawaiʻi.  (Japan was facing a major economic recession and discontent among farmers in Japan; Japanese leadership felt giving the workers the option of going to Hawaiʻi might relieve some of the domestic stress.)

ʻIaukea has a long list of service to the Monarchy and later the Republic of Hawaiʻi.  A few of his assignments included, Colonel on the King’s personal staff and Tax Collector, 1878; Collector General of Customs, 1884; King’s private secretary, 1886; Chamberlain and Crown Land Agent and Commissioner, 1886; in charge royal party to Queen Victoria’s jubilee, 1887; to London with Embassy from Republic of Hawaii to Diamond Jubilee Queen Victoria, 1897; accompanied President and Mrs. Dole to Washington, as secretary and attaché, 1898; elected County Sheriff, 1906; elected Territorial Senator, 1912; appointed Secretary, Territory of Hawaii, 1917; and acting Governor, 1919.

As chamberlain, he had the distinction of taking charge of the royal party attending the jubilee of Queen Victoria of England in 1887, the party included Queen Kapiʻolani, Princess Liliʻuokalani, Governor Dominis and others; en route, the party visited President and Mrs. Cleveland at the White House.

Ten years later, ʻIaukea went to London with the embassy from the Republic of Hawaiʻi to the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and in 1898 he accompanied President and Mrs. Dole to Washington, DC, as secretary and military attaché.

Among the many orders and foreign distinctions that have been conferred upon him are the grand cross and cordon of St. Stanislaus, conferred by the emperor of Russia on the occasion of the coronation in 1883; officer of the French Legion of Honor, conferred by Pres. Grevy of the Republic of France; grand officer's cross of the crown of Italy; rand cross and ribbon of the Order of Takovo; jubilee and diamond jubilee medals of Queen "Victoria; grand officer of the Order of Rising Sun of Japan; knight commander of the Swedish Order of St. Olaf, and all of the Hawaiian orders and decorations instituted by King Kalākaua during the monarchy.  (Derby)

His service in Hawaiʻi spanned through several monarchs and thereafter served in a number of republic and territorial positions.  Curtis P ʻIaukea died in 1940.

The image shows Curtis P ʻIaukea; in addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

© 2012 Hoʻokuleana LLC

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