He died on his 42nd birthday (December 11, 1830 - December 11, 1872.) He was given the Christian name Lot and the Hawaiian name Kapuāiwa, which means ‘mysterious kapu’ (taboo) or ‘the sacred one protected by supernatural powers.’ December 11, Lot Kapuāiwa celebrated the first Kamehameha Day in 1871 as a day to honor his grandfather (it was Lot’s birthday;) because the weather was better in the summer, it was moved to June 11.
Kamehameha V modeled his leadership after that of his grandfather, Kamehameha I, believing that it was the right and duty of the chiefs to lead the common people. "He was not a fool. He was a wise sovereign; … he was educated & accomplished, & he tried hard to do well for his people, & succeeded. … he dressed plainly, poked about Honolulu, night or day, on his old horse, unattended; he was popular, greatly respected, & even beloved."