RECLAIMING A STREET'S HISTORY
The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) at UH Mānoa is proposing to change Dole Street back to its original Hawaiian name
Spanning roughly 2 miles, graduate students at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa are driving an effort to restore Dole Street’s original Hawaiian name, Kapa’akea Street.
At the December Mānoa Neighborhood Board Meeting, students asked for the board’s support in restoring the name. However, board members were unable to review the resolution that Wednesday night and planned on officially voting in February.
Originally named Kapa’akea in an 1882 Hawaiian government survey, Caesar Kapa’akea was the patriarch of the House of Kalākaua whose children included King Kalākaua, The Merrie Monarch, and Queen Lili’uokalani.
The GSO’s argument is that restoring the street name will fulfill the University’s mission statement of its “unique commitment to Native Hawaiians.”
Our Native Hawaiian constituents have requested we change the street back to its original name, Kapa'akea in a push to redress historical micro-aggressions aimed at making Native Hawaiian culture invisible. - Zoe Vorsino, GSO
Sanford Dole, who Dole Street is named after, led the movement that imposed the adoption of the 1887 Bayonet Constitution and overthrew the Kingdom of Hawai’i. President McKinley appointed Dole as the first territorial governor. The GSO claims that the use of his name on which the Hawai’inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge is located is a direct affront of Native Hawaiian students and faculty.
The street was only renamed in the 1950s as what we know it as today, Dole Street.
While the renaming has the support of local students, some remain unconvinced. The resolution needs the support of the Director of Land Utilization. In order to change the street name, students will need to go to the houses located on the street and ask if they agree to the renaming. According to Honolulu law, all state agencies and a majority of property owners must approve.
This would mean that every resident on the road would need to change their driver’s licenses and other government issued documents. In addition, notices must be distributed to the property owners, the fire and police department, and the post office.
Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi who attended the meeting said she would work with the students in their proposal. Kobayashi has previous history in renaming streets with her attempt in changing Pawaina Street. One resident blocked the change.
This story will be updated when the board reconvenes in February.