The Kingdom of Hawaii, established at the beginning of the 19th century, at first did not have a national anthem, and used the melody of the British “God Save the King”. In 1860, the melody of “God Save the King” was still used, but words by Prince (later King) Lunalilo were written as the result of a contest held in the islands to write Hawaiian lyrics for the tune, the work was titled “E Ola Ke Alii Ke Akua” (God Save the King) and these lyrics were used until 1866.
In that year, the king had mentioned that Hawaii lacks a Hawaiian tune for their national anthem, as they were still using that of the United Kingdom. Lydia Kamakaʻeha Dominis, a member of the royal family with a keen interest in music composition, composed “He Mele Lāhui Hawaiʻi” as a result. Kamakaʻeha Dominis was later the last Hawaiian monarch, reigning as Queen Liliʻuokalani from 1891 to 1893.
Special thanks to: Ben Cahoon for some of this information.