Each year, one high school student and one college/graduate student are chosen for the Kānāwai Māmalahoe Award. Kānāwai Māmalahoe is translated from native Hawaiian to English as Law of the Splintered Paddle and is a core Hawaiian law that originated King Kamehameha I in 1797. The law provides, “Let every elderly person, woman and child lie by the roadside in safety,” and is enshrined in the Hawaii Constitution. The law is an important model for humanity and a model for modern human rights law regarding the treatment of civilians and other non-combatants. The law was created by King Kamehameha. While fighting he was chasing two fishermen. Kamehameha had caught in the reef. One of fisherman defended himself with a paddle and hit Kamehameha on the head with a paddle, which broke. Kamehameha escaped, but years later the same fisherman striking Kamehameha was brought before the King. Yet, instead of ordering death, Kamehameha determined the fisherman was protecting his land and family. Thus was created the Law of the Broken Paddle. In this spirit of wisdom and justice, the Royal Order of the Broken Paddle annually awards the Kānāwai Māmalahoe Award to two Native students in recognition of their achievement and promise, and to support their educational aspirations. .
ROBL funds specific programs and selected Native students pursuing academic success and preserving important cultural and environmental resources. We assist Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island students of all academic levels. We consider all students and funding determinations are based on a variety of factors including citizenship, achievement, scholarship, anticipated field of study, and need. We provide direct tuition support, as well as college or research costs including books, fees, and travel. Funding priority is provided to Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students from Hawaii and Polynesia attending four year colleges, professional school or graduate degree programs who will be the first generation of their family or to attend college or graduate school. Strong applicants for grants or funding from other locations in Oceania, or for other educational or research programs, will be considered on an individual review basis. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.