Between the 23 and 24 mile markers on Highway 270 in Kohala look to your right for a view of a statue of King Kamehameha in the town of Kapa'au. The statue before you has survived an incredible adventure. In 1879 the Hawaiian Kingdom commissioned American sculptor Thomas R. Gould to create a statue to honor King Kamehameha. A year after its completion in Gould's studio in Rome, it was sent to Paris to be cast in bronze and finally shipped from Germany.

Unfortunately, the voyage was ill-fated, and the ship burned and sank, leaving the statue beneath the ocean somewhere near the Falkland Islands. A new statue was eventually recast from the original mold and sent to Honolulu. Years later, the lost statue was found and taken to Kapa'au in the Big Island near King Kamehameha's birthplace. In addition to the statues in Honolulu and Kapa'au, there are two more, one on the other side of the Big Island in Hilo and another in Statuary Hall in Washington D.C. If you are fortunate enough to be on the Big Island or Oahu for King Kamehameha Day on June 11, you can witness a truly awe-inspiring tradition. Fantastically long flower leis will be draped on the statue, his outstretched arms and around his neck.

Visitor Travel Guide