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Adopted in 1959.
The seal was originally designed by Viggo Jacobsen for the then-Republic of Hawaii in 1895. The seal is a modified version of the royal coat of arms of the Hawaiian kingdom. Where the royal seal had two warriors, the state seal has King Kamehameha the Great on one side and the Goddess of Liberty on the other holding the Hawaiian flag.
The regal crown was replaced by the sun and the year 1959, which was when Hawaii officially became a state. The star in the center of the shield replaced canoe paddles crossed against a sail.
The Phoenix below the shield is new. In other places, emblems or royalty were replaced by emblems symbolic of a new Hawaii.
The seal of the state of Hawaii hangs from the mauka and makai entrances to the state capitol, and is patterned after the royal coat of arms of the Kingdom of Hawaii. From the March/April 1979 issue of Aloha Magazine*, the symbolism of the seal is described:
1959 represents the date of statehood.
The rising sun replaces the royal crown and Maltese cross of the original coat of arms, and signifies the birth of a new state.
King Kamehameha the Great and Goddess of Liberty holding teh Hawaiian flag replace the two warriors on the royal coat of arms.
The quartered design of the heraldic shield is retained from the coat of arms.
The four stripes of the Hawaiian flag in each of the first and fourth quarters represent the eight islands.
Puloulou, or tabu ball and stick, in the second and third quarters was carried before the king and placed before the door of his home, signifying his authority and power. Here, it is a symbol of the authority and power of government.
The star represents the fiftieth star added to the national flag when Hawaii became a state.
The phoenix, symbol of death and resurrection, symbolizes the change from the monarchy to a freer democratic form of government.
The eight taro leaves, flanked by banana foliage and maidenhair fern are typical Hawaiian flora. Taro was the staff of life and had great religious significance.
The state motto "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono", "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness" is retained from the royal coat of arms.