Hawaii State Motto Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono

Hawaii State Motto: Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono

The Hawaii State motto is more than just a catchy phrase; it embodies the Hawaiian people’s culture and history. Its words, “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono,” have been repeated for centuries and still have a powerful resonance today. This article will explore the deep meaning and history of the Hawaii State motto and its use in modern times.

The Meaning of the Hawaii State Motto

Hawaii State’s motto, Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono, has a profound meaning beyond its translation.

The phrase translates to “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness” and is closely linked to the concept of Aloha ʻĀina, meaning “love of the land.” 

The key words in the motto are Ua Mau, which means “to continue”; Ea, meaning “life”; ʻĀina, meaning “land”; Pono, meaning “righteousness”; and Ka, meaning “the.” 

An alternate translation of the motto is “The life of the land is forever sustained through righteousness.”

The History of the Hawaii State Motto

The Hawaii State motto has a rich history that spans over a century.

Queen Keopuolani first spoke the phrase in 1823, and she was the highest-ranking Hawaiian chiefess and mother of Kamehameha III. 

In 1839, Kamehameha III enacted the Edict of Toleration, the first law in Hawaii to protect the rights of non-Hawaiians. Kamehameha III was a progressive ruler credited with enacting a series of reforms that helped restore the Kingdom of Hawaii. 

The phrase was adopted as the official State motto in 1959 after Admiral Thomas restored the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1843.

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The Use of the Hawaii State Motto Today

The Hawaii State motto is still extensively used today by the state of Hawaii and Hawaiian sovereignty activists.

The state of Hawaii uses the motto in various ways, including on government documents, coins, stamps, and other official materials. In addition, Hawaiian sovereignty activists use the phrase as a reminder of the need to protect and preserve the land. It is also on the great seal of the state of Hawaii.

The phrase also emphasizes the importance of justice, respect, and responsibility as part of Hawaiian culture.


The Hawaii State motto is a powerful reminder of the culture and history of the Hawaiian people. The phrase encapsulates the importance of respecting and protecting the land and the need for justice and righteousness.

The motto still resonates today and is used by both the state of Hawaii and Hawaiian sovereignty activists. 

To truly appreciate the meaning of the motto, it’s essential to understand its history and the context in which it was spoken. Read more about the history and culture of Hawaii, and gain a deeper appreciation of the Hawaii State motto.