Welcome to our Full Service Bar, “The Splintered Paddle”.

Available all day but Happy Hour is 3:00PM – 6:00PM

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tolen_splintered(Artwork by Doug Tolentino)

Kānāwai Māmalahoe, or “Law of the Splintered Paddle” is a precept in Hawaiian law, originating with King Kamehameha I in 1797.  The law, “Let every elderly person, woman and child lie by the roadside in safety,” is enshrined in the state constitution, and has become a model for modern human rights law regarding the treatment of civilians and other non-combatants. It was created when Kamehameha the Great was on a military expedition in Puna—on the Big Island. His party encountered a group of commoners on a beach. While chasing two fishermen who had stayed behind to cover the retreat of a man carrying a child, Kamehameha’s leg was caught in the reef. One of the fisherman, Kaleleiki, hit him mightily on the head with a paddle in defense, which broke into pieces. Kamehameha could have been killed at that point but the fisherman spared him. Years later, the same fisherman was brought before Kamehameha. Instead of ordering for him to be killed, Kamehameha ruled that the fisherman had only been protecting his land and family, and so the Law of the Splintered Paddle was declared.

The complete original 1797 law in Hawaiian:

Kānāwai Māmalahoe :

E nā kānaka,
E mālama ‘oukou i ke akua
A e mālama ho‘i ke kanaka nui a me kanaka iki;
E hele ka ‘elemakule, ka luahine, a me ke kama
A moe i ke ala
‘A‘ohe mea nāna e ho‘opilikia.

Hewa nō, make.
— Kamehameha I

English translation:

Law of the Splintered Paddle:

Oh people,
Honor thy god;
respect alike [the rights of] people both great and humble;
May everyone, from the old men and women to the children
Be free to go forth and lie in the road (i.e. by the roadside or pathway)
Without fear of harm.
Break this law, and die.