Mai Poina 2015

Mai Poina banner 2015

The King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center at historic Aliiolani Hale, in conjunction with the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, the Hawaii Ponoi Coalition, and Kamehameha Schools, presents:

Mai Poina
The Trial of the Queen

The program consists of a living history performance, written by Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, of the 1895 trial of Queen Liliuokalani for misprision of treason, followed by a discussion of the current implications of this event led by noted Hawaiian scholars and community leaders.

Admission is free, but seating is limited in the Courtroom.

Please call (808) 534-8880 or visit for more information or to make reservations.

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Federalism in Hawaii

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Who Trumps Whom:  Exploring Federalism in Hawaii


Tuesday, September 16, 2014 – 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, 417 S. King Street, Honolulu



A spate of current events have focused on states asserting their rights to control public policy issues facing our nation. From LBGT rights to GMOs, minimum wage, marijuana use, universal health care, and voting rights, individual states have exerted their right to control policy with far reaching effects on their citizenry. Who has the final say on these issues – the state or federal government? Two of Hawaii's preeminent jurists weigh in on this issue. Dean Avi Soifer of the William S. Richardson School of Law, and retired Associate Justice Simeon Acoba of the Hawai‘i State Supreme Court share their expertise on the relationship between the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Hawai‘i. Who trumps whom?

Free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Eventbrite - Who Trumps Whom:  Exploring Federalism in Hawaii

Hawaiian Kingdom Court Document

Translating Hawaiian History

Hawaiian Kingdom Court Document

Ua Unuhi Na Palapala:  Revealing Indigenous Responses to Western

Concepts of Justice

Wednesday, August 20, 2014   5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Aliiolani Hale, 417 S King Street, Honolulu, HI 96813

The translation of over 2,000 Hawaiian Kingdom court documents from Hawaiian to English provides new information for understanding daily life in Hawaii during the 19th Century. The documents translated are only a few of the Hawaiian language documents housed at the Hawaii State Archives.

The translations helped guide the development of the Center’s exhibitions and displays.  Since 1977, translators have spent countless hours deciphering handwriting, solving mysterious abbreviations, learning old names and relocating unfamiliar places names.  Some cultural practices referenced and described within the court documents are no longer practiced and virtually unknown today, making translation difficult.

Hear about the challenges of translation work and the opportunities for becoming more proficient in Hawaiian grammar and vocabulary.  Esther Kiki Mookini (translator), Toni Han Palermo (program specialist), and Kaanoi Walk (research scholar) share stories of this on-going project to make Hawaiian Kingdom court documents accessible to a broader audience. Learn more about the types of cases brought before the court in the 19th century and how they were settled.

Free and open to the public. Light refreshments served.

RSVP by August 19, 2014 to 539-4999 or


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Pupule v. Make Ulu Nui: Insanity Plea Then and Now

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Thursday, May 22, 2014 – 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm  –   Aliiolani Hale

The insanity plea has a long history in Anglo-American law. The proposition that some defendants should not be held responsible for their actions by reason of their mental state has been espoused as early as 1851. By the mid-twentieth century, some in the legal and psychiatric circles began questioning the standards and guidelines for evaluating the criminally insane. Since then, many states have changed their insanity-defense statutes, shifting the burden and standard of proof in ways to make it more difficult to sustain an insanity plea. Hawaiʻi too, has experienced a groundswell of sentiment against the insanity plea. “What might be shocking to some Hawaiʻi residents is that this ‘centuries-old English law’ has roots here in the islands that span a period of over 160 years.” (Poai: 2000)

Every society has individuals whose behavior deviates from, or violates, mainstream expectations. Join us on May 22, as Avis Poai shares 19th Century insanity plea cases from the Kingdom of Hawaii’s courts. Poai is the Director of Archives and Legal History, Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law, at the William S. Richardson School of Law. Veteran defense attorney Brook Hart joins the conversation to discuss contemporary issues regarding use of the insanity plea. Hart began his legal career in Hawaiʻi in 1966 as a law clerk for the Honorable Martin Pence, United States District Court for Hawaiʻi, and later became the Chief Public Defender for the Legal Aid Society. In addition to his private practice specializing in criminal defense and Constitutional law, Hart is an adjunct faculty member of the William S. Richardson School of Law, and co-instructor of the Hawaiʻi Innocence Project.

Free and open to the public. Light refreshments served.

RSVP by May 21, 2014 to 539-4999 or click here to register.