1 Haw. J.L. & Pol. 1 (2004)

handle is hein.journals/hawjolp1 and id is 1 raw text is: EDITOR'S NOTE

If a big wave comes in large and unfamiliar
fishes will come from the dark ocean, and
when they see the small fishes of the
shallows they will eat them up. David
The evidence was all around the Pacific and, by April 1842, His Majesty
King Kamehameha III saw it clearly-large and unfamiliar fishes
coming up from the dark ocean.
Great Britain had taken Australia and made it a penal colony and a
dependency. Catholic priests had been expelled from Tahiti in 1836
leading to French gunboats in 1838. In 1840, the British had settled into
Aotearoa by way of the Treaty of Waitangi that guaranteed the Maoris
some still to be fully understood status in exchange for British
sovereignty.2 The French took the Marquesas and Society islands in
1842 en route to declaring Tahiti a Protectorate and triggering a three-
year war of independence by Queen Pomare IV. In 1842, French and
British naval vessels visited Hawaii to demand equal status for their
The Hawaiian Islands' strategic mid-Pacific position made it a likely
next target. Invasion, overthrow and occupation seemed imminent. In the
face of this threat, His Majesty commissioned and dispatched three
Ministers Plenipotentiary -two Westerners and a trusted childhood
friend-to secure the recognition of the Hawaiian Kingdom's
independence and its membership in the family of nations. His Majesty's
goal was to obtain the protection of public international law that
accompanied recognition as a member state in the family of nations.
In April 1842, Timoteo Ha'alilio, William Richards and Sir George
Simpson received their commissions. Simpson left soon for England.
Ha'alilio and Richards departed in July for the United States. By
December 1842, the United States had recognized the Hawaiian
Kingdom. Ha'alilio and Richards left to meet Simpson in Europe where
all three secured formal recognition from Great Britain and France. On
April 1, 1843, Lord Aberdeen, on behalf of Her Britannic Majesty Queen
Victoria, assured the Hawaiian delegation that: Her Majesty's
1 Gavan Daws, Shoal of Time: A History of the Hawaiian Islands (Honolulu: University
of Hawai'i Press, 1968), 106, quoting Hawaiian scholar David Malo.
2 See F.M Brookfield, Waitangi and Indigenous Rights: Revolution, Law, and
Legitimation, (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1999); See also Peter Cleave, The
Sovereignty Game: Power, Knowledge and Reading the Treaty, (Wellington, Victoria
University Press, 1989).

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