Saturday, May 21, 2022 |
Share this story
For weeks, the Hui o Laka staff and volunteers have been preparing for the 18th annual Eo e Emalani i Alaka‘i in the lush beauty of Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow in Koke‘e State Park.
On three Hawaiian islands more than 300 hula dancers and their kumu hula have been practicing for the journey to Koke‘e, an event that occurred last weekend.
The Emalani Festival is an outdoor historical commemoration of Queen Emma Naea Rooke’s journey to the upland forests in 1871. The day-long event held Saturday has attracted more than 2,500 in past years.
In honor of last weekend’s event, here is a historical recounting of Queen Emma’s trip. The recounting was submitted by historical columnist Hank Soboleski.
Queen Emma’s (1836-1885) best-known visit to Kauai occurred during the winter of 1870 and the spring of 1871. Sadly, however, she made this visit without the company of her husband and her precious little son. Prince Albert had died in 1862, and Kamehameha IV passed away the following year, in 1863.
On Dec. 21, 1870, Queen Emma arrived at Koloa Landing late in the afternoon aboard an inter-island schooner, along with an entourage of around 100 retainers and servants. From the landing, she then rode horseback or was driven in a carriage over 2 miles to her estate at Lawai, the same estate her aunt Hikoni had owned but had recently deeded to her.
Her home at Lawai was a large frame house with a thatched roof that was located on the bluff on the Koloa side of Lawai Valley overlooking Lawai Bay. Several outbuildings stood nearby and the area was enclosed within stonewalls.
Not long afterwards, Emma decided to visit the Waimea Canyon area, likely at the suggestion of her late husband’s brother, Kamehameha V, who had gone pig hunting there in 1851.
Few people knew the trail into the mountains in those days, but at the urging of Valdemar “Kanuka” Knudsen, an old-timer named Kaluahi reluctantly agreed to act as guide for Queen Emma and her party.
The queen’s retinue, which consisted of about 100 men, women, children, hula girls, musicians, and retainers, left Waimea on horseback and soon stretched out for nearly 2 miles along the bridle path that led up the mountain above Waimea Canyon.
When they reached the enchanting Kauaikinana Valley, Emma called a stop to their journey. Hula girls began to dance and musicians played sweetly for more than two hours before the party proceeded onward.
The night was spent in the thick mists, called “noe,” of the Aiponui forest at a place called Kalaniwahine, a small clearing between Kalaaukipapaaola and Kapiliikiakahuamoa.
Four Waimea men built Emma a platform of lehua branches and set their cloaks atop the platform to make her comfortable. But, for the others without such comfort, the cold and wet made for a miserable experience, despite listening to the ancient meles Queen Emma chanted to lift their spirits. The following chant, translated from Hawaiian, describes the night Queen Emma and her party spent in the forest:
To one side stood Aipoiki,
Where the cold gripped with fierce hands.
The fog hung motionless,
And water flowed below.
All night there was no sleep
For the companions miserable with their gooseflesh,
Even when they tried to warm their
Chests by building a fire
With bunches of moss for tinder.
All sat about in a circle
Where Emma lay bowed down,
Eagerly awaiting the daylight. . . .
On the following morning,
the queen and her party went to the end of the trail
at the Kilohana of Hanalei
overlooking Wainiha Valley 4,000 feet below.
This chant tells of the sight Queen Emma saw:
Wondrous indeed was the lady
Standing on the heights,
On the summit of Mauna-Hina
Looking toward the Koolau side
At Hanalei’s beauty spread before her,
The sandy stretch of M ahamoku
The waters of Lumahai.
Upon her return to Waimea, a great luau was prepared with all the people of Waimea in attendance.
It was held on January 29, 1871 at the Kapuniai residence, which had been built for Governor Kaikioewa in 1830.
This building still stands. It is located above the old Waimea dispensary and is now the residence of the pastor of the Waimea United Church of Christ.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
By participating in online discussions you
acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful
discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments
are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines,
send us an email.