Many people of Hawaiian ancestry, that do not have a Polynesian last name, may find that part of their genealogy to be of Celtic origin, especially Scottish. Over the years after European contact a lot of Scots settled in the Hawaiian Islands.

The following text was gleaned from various sources, much of it based on information contained in a fabulous book "The Story of Scots in Hawaii" published by 'The Caledonian Society of Hawaii', and available from the Maui Celtic 'Storefront' on the right.

The British ships 'Resolution' and 'Discovery' sighted the Hawaiian Islands in January 1778. Mostly crewed by Englishmen, there were also a few Scots, Irish, and Welshmen. The famous explorer Capt. James Cook, thought of as a Yorkshireman, was actually the son of a Scottish carpenter, also James Cook. With him was William Anderson, a young Scotsman - the ships surgeon and naturalist - and the artist John Webber. These men were, as far as we know, the first Europeans to step ashore on the Hawaiian Islands, on Kauai, on January 21st 1778. Cook was initially mistaken for a reincarnation of the Hawaiian god Lono. The ships returned a year later to Hawaii, again to a fine welcome, and stayed several weeks. Soon after leaving, they were caught in gale force weather and damaged, and the ships limped back into Kealakekua Bay in Hawaii to a cooler reception -- maybe this was not Lono after all. Probably due to a misunderstanding by the visitors, of the concept of the Hawaiians' (and most ancient cultures) notion of communal property, a series of events ended on February 14th, 1779 , in an out of control retreat by Cook and his sailors, and during a skirmish Capt. James Cook died.

Islands MapOver the years visiting Scots came and went, but the earliest settler may have been a Captain Stewart, who stayed in Kawaihae, Hawai'i, and served King Kamehameha, king of Hawai'i Island, who had conquered Maui, Moloka'i and Lana'i, and in 1810 he united the Hawaiian Islands. Two early immigrants no doubt helped his cause, training Kamehameha's troops in the use of firearms supplied by British and American traders. These were Welshman Isaac Davis - advisor and friend to Kamehameha, who made him a high chief, and Governor of O'ahu - and John Young, of Scottish descent, from Lancashire, England - also advisor and friend to Kamehameha, who made him a high chief and Governor of the Island of Hawaii, who was grandfather of Queen Emma, wife of Kamehameha IV. Both men are buried near the Hawaiian Ali'i in the grounds of the Royal Mausoleum in Nuuanu Valley, Oahu.

Later Capt. Alexander Adams from Arbroath, Scotland, commanded King Kamehameha's ships. His first of three wives was Sally or Kale Davis, daughter of Isaac Davis. King Kamehameha designed the stripes on his own flag, to represent the inhabited islands, and accepted Adams' suggestion of the Union Jack , creating the Hawaiian Flag. In 1817 Adams' ousted a Russian fort that had been built at Waimea, Kauai. In 1823 King Liholiho made him the Honolulu harbour pilot.

A Scotsman revered for his services to the Hawaiian Monarchy was Robert Crichton Wyllie. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1845-1865, served Kings Kamehameha 3rd, 4th, and 5th, and fought for the preservation of the Hawaiian Monarchy and Nation for many years, seeking treaties from the encroaching maritime superpowers of Britain, France and the United States, recognising Hawai'i as an independent nation. Possibly he saw that the histories of his native Scotland and the small Pacific Nation of Hawai'i had similarities - feuding clans finally united under one ruler, threatened by stronger countries wanting to add them to their colonies. Wyllie also founded Princeville on Kauai. He died in 1865 and was buried in state near the kings he served by the Royal Mausoleum on Oahu. “The death of such a man can not but be regarded as a national calamity. There is not a Hawaiian, from one end of the Islands to the other, but who, when he hears of Mr. Wyllie’s death, will say – ‘There went a true friend of our King and His People.’” - The Hawaiian Gazette October 21, 1865.

Several Scottish Naturalists came to Hawai'i. William Anderson landed with Cook in 1778, and 11 years later Archibald Menzies explored the Islands. Over the first four decades of the 1800's others followed, including the botanist David Douglas, after whom the Douglas Fir is named, who died in mysterious circumstances on the Big Island of Hawai'i.

History of Bagpiping in Hawaii bookThe early 1800's saw the start of the sugar industry on the islands, with Wyllie and the Sinclairs having plantations on Kauai in the 30's and 40's. By the 1850's plantations were all over the Islands, staffed with Scottish engineers, book-keepers and managers. Scottish machinery engineers would accompany the equipment to Hawai'i, with so many Scots on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island, that it was known as "The Scots Coast".

In 1881 King David Kalakaua went to Scotland, visited Glasgow and Edinburgh, sailed up Loch Lomond , and was entertained by the pipe band of the 42nd Highlanders, The Black Watch. More accounts of his trip, and many other fascinating histories can be found in Hardy Spoehr's great book "UPOHO UKA NUI'O KEKOKIA (Scotland's Great Highland Bagpipe) - The Story of Bagpipes, Bagpipers, and Bagpipe Bands in Hawai'i with accounts of King Kalakaua's Visit to Scotland", avalable at our online Storefront.

King Kalakaua's sister Princess Miriam Likelike was married to a Scot - Archibald Cleghorn - who arrived at age 16 and became a Honolulu businessman. Their daughter, born 1875 was Princess Ka'iulani, heir to the throne as King Kalakaua and his sister Queen Lili'uokalani had no children. Had the Monarchy continued, the Hawaiian Queen would have been half Scottish.

Princess Victoria Ka'iulani Cleghorn and her father, Archibald Scott Cleghorn

Young Princess Ka'iulaniPrincess Ka'iulani and Archibalb Cleghorn














The Princess was a remarkable child of two races, educated in Hawai'i and the British Isles and was heir to the Hawaiian throne at the time of annexation. This brave young girl overcame great sorrow to become Hawaii's 'Hope of the Nation', when she travelled from England to the U.S.A at the age of 16 to address the American people, following the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy, and persuaded President Cleveland not to annex The Kingdom of Hawai'i. Princess Ka'iulani was also instrumental in changing the world's prejudiced view of the Hawaiian people. She retuned to her home Islands, and saw her country annexed to the United States. She became ill and died in 1899, at the tragically young age of 23. (Follow this link for a more detailed article on Princess Ka'iulani by Mindi Reid, and more info at The Ka'iulani Project website).

The famous Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Kidnapped) spent time in Hawaii, and was a friend King Kalakaua and of Princess Ka'iulani , and even wrote a poem for her, when she went off to school in the U.K.

"Forth from her land to mine she goes,
The Island maid, the Island rose;
Light of heart and bright of face:
The daughter of a double race.

Her islands here, in Southern sun,
Shall mourn their Kaiulani gone,
And I, in her dear banyan shade,
Look vainly for my little maid.

But our Scots islands far away
Shall glitter with unwonted day,
And cast for once their tempests by
To smile in Kaiulani’s eye."



Scots in Hawaii bookThe above text was gleaned from various sources, much of it based on information contained in a fabulous book "The Story of Scots in Hawaii" published by 'The Caledonian Society of Hawaii', and available from the Maui Celtic 'Storefront' on the right. 295 pages and many period photographs. Dust jacket features the "Hawai'i Tartan".

This informative book "sketches the story of the lives of more than twelve hundred Scots who came to Hawai'i from 1778 to the present day. It reaches back into history with the arrival of Captain James Cook, RN, and follows the explorers, seamen, merchants, lawyers, doctors, government servants, entertainers, scientists, teachers and preachers, to the plantation workers and more recent arrivals from Scotland. It gives the reader first hand accounts of life in the late 19th and early 20th century and recounts in scholarly history and poignant memories the significant role of Scots in the development of Hawai'i.






THE KA'IULANI PROJECT is a movement that celebrates the life, spirit and legacy of Hawaiian Crown Princess Victoria Ka'iulani Cleghorn who since her passing in 1899 has been referred to as a sad and “Tragic Princess'. The project is spearheaded by the upcoming production "Ka'iulani - The Island Rose" and it's writers, Jennifer Fahrni and Carol Harvie-Yamaguchi. New information on Ka'iulani's life has been revealed. Fahrni, who has been researching the princess's life since 2003, has recently found several significant connections Ka'iulani made during her years in England and Scotland and now is working with a person who has been tracking Ka'iulani's travels there in the 1890's.

Princess Victoria Ka'iulani Cleghorn"Ka'iulani should be remembered for her vibrance and courageous efforts for her nation during her lifetime. We owe that to her" says Jennifer Fahrni. "Ka'iulani changed forever how the world saw the Hawaiian people". The Ka'iulani Project is leading to a dynamic production that will premiere on Maui, and is also gaining interest outside of Hawaii - Scotland's National Newspaper, The Sunday Post interviewed Ka'iulani advocate, Jennifer Fahrni about the life of Hawaiian Princess Victoria Ka'iulani Cleghorn and the recently created festival where Fahrni was a guest speaker. The Smithsonian Magazine recently interviewed her for an article they published on the Princess.

THE KA'IULANI PROJECT has a new website at thekaiulaniproject.com

The new play KA'IULANI, THE ISLAND ROSE celebrates the life of a brave young girl who overcame great sorrow to become Hawaii's 'Hope of the Nation.' The script is a period piece (years 1885-1893) surrounding the life of Princess Victoria Ka'iulani Cleghorn. The play covers a controversial period in Hawaiian history where several members of the musical Kalakaua Royal Family are depicted, as well as other well-known politicians and ladies of the day. It is not widely known that Princess Ka'iulani was a child of dual heritage, her mother being the Hawaiian Princess, Miriam Likelike, and her father, the Scottish entrepreneur, Archibald Cleghorn. This remarkable child of two races was educated in Hawai'i and the British Isles and was heir to the Hawaiian throne at the time of annexation.
At the young age of seventeen, the young princess fought courageously for her country in its hour of need. Ka'iulani was also instrumental in changing the world's prejudiced view of the Hawaiian people.

Princess Victoria Ka'iulani Cleghorn.

The project has been deeply honored by receiving a full Hawaiian Blessing.
The public reading took place Saturday, April 12th 2008 at the The Steppingstone Playhouse, Kahului, produced and narrated by Jennifer Fahrni, and directed by David Johnston, the executive and artistic director of the Maui Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA). All members of the community were invited to attend this free event, and encouraged to give feedback at this developmental stage. With a cast of 17, the piece was well received with a standing ovation from the audience. More details on our NEWS ARCHIVE page. This will ultimately lead to a large stage production (with music) for Hawaii, which will first be performed here in Maui. To be considered for casting: email and submit resume and headshot if available. If you have no headshot and resume, please email your interest to Jennifer at jjfahrni@shaw.ca. Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian actors are required. Anyone wanting to take part in or sponsor the stage production is encouraged to contact David Johnston, Executive and Artistic Director of the Maui Academy of Performing Arts at 808-244-8760, or email Jennifer at jjfahrni@shaw.ca.

NOTE : This work is in no way connected with the recent film under Hawaiian protest while shooting on Oahu.

For a local newspaper article on the play please go to Ka Wai Ola - Office of Hawaiian Affairs Newspaper - "Princess Ka'iulani, is the subject of a play" - By Lisa Asato. For a local Maui newspaper article on the play please go to Maui Weekly 'Ka‘iulani, The Island Rose' article.

THE KA’IULANI PROJECT took a presentation about the Princess and about the play “Ka’iulani: The Island Rose” to Kauai in November 2009, to raise funds for the Storybook Theatre of Hawaii, which enables Hawaii's school children to experience and participate in the performing and media arts, and also perpetuates the cultural values and heritage of the peoples of Hawaii and the Pacific. More details on our News Archive page.

Lahaina Royal Hoike 2010Saturday, October 16th 2010 - LAHAINA ROYAL HO'IKE - From the Keiki to Ka'iulani and the Crown - we celebrated the most famous Hawaiian Scot Princess Victoria Ka'iulani's 135th birthday and the Hawaiian Kingdom Bicentennial (1810-2010) at the Historical and Sacred Grounds of Waiola Church in Lahaina. In the evening The Ka'iulani Project presented Lu'au o Ka'iulani at 6pm - with the music of Richard Ho'opii, an authentic Hawaiian feast prepared by The Royal Order of Kamehameha. There were cultural protocols to honor Hawaii's Royalty that are rarely performed or seen in public and finally, we traveled 135 years back in time to learn the gripping story of Princess Ka'iulani, the daughter of a double race, told with readings of selected scenes from the original upcoming production Ka’iulani - The Island Rose, with projected historical photographs, music and hula. More details at our News Archive page.



Maui Celtic's own Hamish Douglas Burgess was awarded 'Scot of the Year' for 2010 by the Caledonian Society of Hawaii on Saturday April 10th at the Hawaiian Scotish Festival, for services to the Scottish/Hawaiian community. "The Caledonian Society has presented this award each year since 1987 to an individual who is of Scottish descent or has embraced an interest in Scotland and Scottish culture, has supported the Scottish community in Hawai'i, and has made a contribution to the Hawaiian community in general. The Board members of the Caledonian Society believe that you meet these criteria and are a person who exemplifies the values upon which this award is based."
Hamish would like to humbly extend his gratitude to the Hawaiian Scots for this recognition - Mahalo.

Hamish Douglas Burgess awarded 'Scot of the Year' 2010 by the Caledonian Society of Hawaii

Hamish Douglas Burgess (right) recieving 'Scot of the Year' award from Caledonian Society of Hawaii Chieftain Bruce McEwan (left) at the Hawaiian Scottish Festival





APRIL 6TH IS 'NATIONAL TARTAN DAY'...Tartan is commonly known as 'plaid' in America. We hope you will all join us in wearing an item of tartan material that day to remember our heritage.

The contribution of the immigrant Scots upon North America is considerable and throughout Canada and America Scots and their descendants have taken the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath (1320) as their national date to celebrate their Scottish roots. This document, declaring independence, proclaims, “For we fight not for glory nor for riches nor for honour, but only and alone for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life.”

In 2008 the Hawaii State Legislature passed a resolution designating April 6 each year as Tartan Day and recognizing the Hawaii Tartan.

The first Tartan Day Rally at the Hawaii State Capitol

The first Tartan Day Rally at the Hawaii State Capitol, April 6th 2009

Monday April 6th 2009 - there was a Tartan Day Rally at the State Capitol from 3-3:30pm. In 2008 the Hawaii State Legislature passed a resolution designating April 6 each year as Tartan Day and recognizing the Hawaii Tartan. This year in gratitude for that act, The Caledonian Society of Hawaii sponsored a short Tartan Day Rally at the State Capitol.
Hawaii Tartan Day Pipers at the State CapitolBagpiping was from Tina Yap, Mike Hudgens, and Coreyanne Armstrong with drummer Tracy Burnham (of the Celtic Pipes and Drums of Hawaii), and guest piper Hamish Burgess of Maui Celtic. Speakers were Bruce McEwan, Ron McPherson and State Representative Joey Manahan. There was small tartan-clad crowd present to applaud the bagpipes, the resolution, and the contributions made by Scots to the flourishing of the State of Hawaii.


A look in today's telephone books of the Islands will reveal a large amount of Scottish surnames, the descendants of settlers who through the years arrived in Hawaii, and found a place as beautiful as their far mountainous homeland, filled with people similar to those they left behind with a special welcoming spirit.......ALOHA.

There are Scottish organisations in the Hawaiian Islands, namely The Caledonian Society of Hawaii, The Hawaiian Scottish Association and the St.Andrew Society of Hawai'i -- all can be accessed on our links page. 'The Hawaiian Scottish Association's' yearly 'Scottish Festival' is normally held in the McCoy Pavillion, Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu, on the first weekend in April.

Maui Celtic for years could be found in the trade tent all weekend, nearby the Clan tent, where you can find out more about your family history. There are also Pipe Bands, traditional music and dancing and Highland Games.

'The Caledonian Society of Hawaii' hold functions on Oahu throughout the year, including a Robert Burns Night Dinner.

On Maui there is a Scots community scattered across the island, that celebrates Robert Burns Night (Jan 25th) - a celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) - presented by MAUI CELTIC at Maui's Irish Pub, "Mulligan's on the Blue" in Wailea, and has been a great success. The pipers and the MC are there in full dress uniform, and all the Burns Night traditional ceremonies take place, including 'The Selkirk Grace', the piping in and the Address 'To A Haggis', many toasts with much fine Scotch whiskey, and Robert Burns' poetry. The pipers play, followed by the 'Celtic Tigers' playing traditional Irish and Scottish music, and at the break more piping and of course, "Auld Lang Syne"......




Robert Burns is Scotland's most famous poet, and his 200 year old verse has become part of Scottish heritage celebrated all over the world on January 25th. He was born in Ayrshire, Scotland in 1759, into a poor farming family. At age 27 he published his first volume of poems, which was a huge success, and his humour and wit became legendary. He moved to Edinburgh, and received critical acclaim. He wrote about everyday things, philosophy, and about his loves, which contributed to his popularity. 2 years later, he married and moved to a farm in Dumfries, working as an exciseman while still continuing to write poetry and songs. He died at 37, in 1796. He is the most widely translated poet in the world.


January 25th - ROBERT BURNS NIGHT ON MAUI. On Maui folks will join Scots worldwide by celebrating the famous Scottish poet's birthday !
Maui Celtic's annual Robert Burns Night will be at held Maui's Irish Pub, Mulligan's on the Blue in Wailea, with bagpiping, MCs for the no-cover evening, with folks sitting down for dinner, in time for the ceremonious piping in the Haggis, in procession with the honorable Whisky Bearer, and the Traditional Haggis Bearer.

MAUI CELTIC's traditional Burns Night includes:

The Selkirk Grace --
"Some hae meat and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it:
But we hae meat and we can eat, Sae let the Lord be thankit."

Address To A Haggis --
"Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftain o' the Puddin' race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe or thairm;
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm...
His knife see rustic-labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich !...
Ye pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware,
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her a gratefu' pray'r,
Gie her a Haggis ! "

The Loyal Toast --
"To Scotland, Ireland and Hawaii" - Slainte Mhath !

The Immortal Memory --
of Robert Burns.

Toast to the Lassies --
by the men.

The Reply --
by the ladies.

Entertainment from --
The Maui Pipers and "The Celtic Tigers"

Auld Lang Syne --
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We''ll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne
And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude willie-waught
For auld lang syne
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We''ll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne."

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