As a young warrior chief, Kamehameha the Great happened upon commoners fishing on a shoreline. He attacked the fishermen, but during the struggle caught his foot in a lava crevice. One of the fleeing fishermen turned and broke a canoe paddle over the young chief’s head. Years later when Kamehameha became ruler over all of Hawaiʻi he declared that “old men, the women and the children may lie on the road-side and they shall not be molested.” This royal edict protected the commoners from wanton mistreatment by chiefs. This was the law proclaimed by Kamehameha and it became known as the Law of the Splintered Paddle.
Logo designed by Sanford Mock from an original concept by Ruby Hamili ’82 and Michael Moore ’82.
[Text from William S. Richardson School of Law Commencement 2018 program guide]