They came to bring ho’okupu to a Prince

KOLOA — Kuhio Day meant two different things for two young girls who attended

Prince Kuhio commemorative services Saturday at the Prince’s birthplace in


Courtney Denson, 10, a fifth grader from Corvalis, Ore., was subdued

as she strode beside Mayor Maryanne Kusaka in the processional that opened the

formal ceremonies.

An equally quiet Chelise Kahalekomo held a ho’okupu of

a floral arrangement as she walked at the side of her grandmother, Janet

Kahalekomo, who represented the Kaumualii chapter of the Hawaiian Civic


The girls moved with the solemn processional as it paraded past the

bronze bust of the Prince before settling into neatly arranged seats at the

base of the statue.

Kusaka introduced Courtney Denson to the audience and

explained that her great-grandfather, “Bumpy” Dansen, was one of the first

timeshare buyers when the Mokihana condominiums opened up in Kapa’a, and

through attendance at one of the canoe races that was part of the Kuhio Day

festivities, became familiar with the local nobility and his


Dansen returned each year to spend six months here, always

enjoying the Prince Kuhio events.

In another row, Chelise cradled her

grandmother’s ho’okupu.

Sarah Kailikea, celebrating her 89th birthday this

year, called Courtney to the stone podium, and reading from a yellowed page

from the Feb. 26, 1969, issue of “The Garden Island” told the Oregon youngster

about the days the Prince spent in private school, and how a French teacher at

Atkinson School on O’ahu gave the Prince the title of “Prince Cupid,” a

nickname that followed him through the Halls of Congress.

Kailikea gave

Courtney, who turns 11 on March 26, the copy of the newspaper. The gift was

made special as Kusaka helped Kailikea write a message of aloha from the


Chelise, who had been sitting attentively throughout the ceremony,

was gently nudged by her grandmother as the Kaumualii Chapter of the Hawaiian

Civic Clubs made its way to the base of the statue, Chelise having the honor of

handing the ho’okupu to waiting attendants.

Alii Nui Gabriel Makuakane of

Kona was flanked by Kaua’i members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I Chapter

No. 3, Kaumualii and its women’s auxiliary.

Prince Kuhio Day, a state

holiday, was observed Monday.

At Saturday’s pre-holiday event, emcee

Warren Perry said that people need to pause, reflect, and pay respect to the

many accomplishments of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Piikoi, affectionately

known as “The Citizen Prince.”

Prince Kuhio was a descendant of ancient

royal families from O’ahu, Kaua’i, Maui, and Hawai’i.

In tracing the

genealogy of Kuhio, his descent was through the king Peleioholani who passed

away in 1779 and succeeded by his son Kumahana and a grandson


During the reign of Peleioholani, Kaneoneo had ruled the family

lands on Kaua’i and married Kamakahelei, the Kaua’i queen.

The couple had

two daughters, Kapuaamooku being the eldest.

Around 1778, Kamakahelei

discarded her husband Kaneoneo and married Kaeokulani.

The couple had a

son who is known historically as Kaumualii.

To preserve the purity of the

bloodline, Kaumualii took his half sister Kapuaamoku as his wife, and they

became the parents of two kapumoe children — the High Chiefess Kekaulike

Kinoiki and the High Chief Kealiiahonui.

The first Chief Piikoi was a close

relative of King Kaumualii, and even possibly a half brother.


relationship was so close that he became known through his role as being

Kaumualii’s pipe lighter about the time the missionaries arrived.


was an apt student of the new palapala (book learning) and a likeable person

who readily became a Christian convert.

He was so likeable that at the

time Liholiho kidnapped Kaumualii, Liholiho asked Kamualii to give him Piikoi

as a personal attendant.

Liholiho gave Piikoi, who took the Christian name

Jonah, large parcels of land lying on the Diamond Head side of McKinley High

School on O’ahu.

His son, High Chief David Kahalepouli Piikoi was a cousin

of King Kalakaua and Queen Lihuokalani through his mother Kekahili, a half

sister of the Chief Kapaakea, father of the King and Queen.


Kinoiki II and David Kahalepuli Piikoi had three sons, David Kawananakoa Piikoi

who was born on Feb. 19, 1868, in Honolulu, Edward Keliiahonui, and Jonah

Kalanianaole who was born on March 26, 1871, at Koloa, Kaua’i.

The three

boys lost their mother in 1884 and were adopted as teenagers by their alii aunt


After Kalakaua and Kapiolani ascended the throne of the

Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1874, the three great-grandsons of Kaumualii became heirs

to the throne.

In naming the immediate members of his family as heirs to

the throne, Kalakaua named his own brother and sisters first and gave them the

title of Royal Highness. He then named the three foster sons of his wife and

gave them each the title of Prince.

At Saturday’s ceremony, government

representatives offered their hookupu (tributes) to Prince Kuhio.


was a letter from U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, followed by the governor’s liaison

Roy Nishida who was flanked by his granddaughter, state Rep. Bertha Kawakami,

Kusaka and four members of the County Council, Ron Kouchi, Brian Baptiste,

Jimmy Tokioka with his son Pono and Gary Hooser.

Office of Hawaiian

Affairs Trustee Donald Cataluna was the featured speaker.

Maile Semitekol

and Juliet Aiu’s efforts at celebrating Prince Kuhio’s heritage were

acknowledged by Kusaka, and in accordance with their retirement request,

announced that grants would be provided to the canoe clubs and the Royal Order

of Kamehameha to help perpetuate the Prince’s heritage.

Kahalekomo noted

the growth in attendance of the annual ceremony, and explained to the audience

how important it was that young people (na opio) understand the


Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Alu Like, Inc., Kamehameha

Schools/Bishop Estate, Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center (represented by the

Hawaiian Club at Waimea High School), Ka Pa Kui A Holo-Kaua’i, and Ka Lahui

Hawai’i offered their ho’okupu before Cheryl Lovell closed off the giving with

her personal ho’okupu in remembrance of her grandmother.


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