ʻĀinamoana: The Lands of the Sea


Now open in the Bartels Gallery in the Palace Basement, ʻĀinamoana: The Lands of the Sea gives guests the opportunity to explore Hawaiian diplomacy across Oceania during the reign of King Kalākaua.

The exhibit features a unique map titled, “Ainamoana,” from the atlas, He Mau Palapala Aina a me na Niele e Pili Ana, which was printed at Lāhaināluna Seminary and was the first produced in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian). Translated as “The Lands of the Sea,” ʻĀinamoana reflects a Kānaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) perspective of place and belonging in Oceania by positioning Hawaiʻi within a broader network of islands and peoples connected by the ocean, genealogy and a legacy of voyaging.

This Indigenous-centered perspective was an important framework during King Kalākaua’s reign and his mission to Hoʻoulu Lāhui (increase the nation) at home and abroad. As Western imperialism threatened the political sovereignty of Hawaiʻi and other island nations throughout Oceania, King Kalākaua proposed a Polynesian Confederation in 1887. It was the first alliance of its kind and aimed to resist Western colonialism and protect the independence of nations throughout Oceania.

Through a historical lens, ʻĀinamoana honors the legacy of solidarity-building during the reign of King Kalākaua and the ongoing efforts of Kānaka ʻŌiwi and other Oceanic peoples to foster political unity and promote cultural resurgence today. The exhibit features royal orders, artwork, historical maps, and more.

ʻĀinamoana: The Lands of the Sea is located in the Bartels Gallery and can be viewed Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30am to 4:00pm.