Monday, June 27, 2022 |
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LIHU‘E — March 26 is celebrated as a state and county holiday, and people were taking advantage of a day off from school and work Tuesday.
A handful of people, some as far away as Boston and Florida, joined local residents in paying tribute to Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana‘ole Pi‘ikoi at the commemorative ceremony held at the Kaua‘i Museum.
“I don’t know if I can hold my breath that long,” said Julie Souza, in between blowing a conch shell to announce the event.
Souza represented Aha Hui O Ka‘ahumanu Saturday at the service hosted by the Royal Order of Kamehameha.
La‘a Almeida, the museum’s education outreach officer, also attended the Saturday service at the Prince Kuhio Park, representing A&B Hawai‘i and the Kukui‘ula Development Co.
Tuesday, Almeida was the kumu hula of Halau Ka Waikahe Lani Malie whose ladies performed a tribute hula for Prince Kuhio as well as a departing ‘auana number, “Aloha Kaua‘i,” celebrating the island where Prince Kuhio was born on March 26, 1871.
Kuhio was born in the area of Koloa, near the site of the current Prince Kuhio Park, which is maintained and managed by the Royal Order of Kamehameha.
His father, Kahalepouli, was a high chief and the son of the last King of Kaua‘i, and his mother was Princess Kinoike Kekaulike, sister of Queen Kapiolani, consort of King Kalakaua, according to the Department of Hawaiian Homes website.
He was created a Prince by royal proclamation at age 13.
During his life, Prince Kuhio spearheaded the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. In response of the dwindling native Hawaiian population, which numbered about 25,000, down from an estimated 300,000 when Captain James Cook arrived in 1871, Prince Kuhio convinced Congress to create a rehabilitation program for Hawaiians.
The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920 was the result of this where the U.S. Congress set aside about 200,000 acres of land to “establish a permanent homeland for native Hawaiians, who were a landless and ‘dying’ people,” states the DHHL website.
His concern for perpetuating and rehabilitating the Hawaiian people and their culture also helped form the first Hawaiian Civic Club in 1918, a movement which has blossomed to more than 50 organizations across the state of Hawai‘i and on the Mainland, said Aunty Ihi of the Kaua‘i Museum noting that Hawaiian Civic Clubs, who will be holding their state convention on Kaua‘i later in the fall.
Another day-long event celebrating Prince Kuhio will be held Saturday at the Anahola Beach Park from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to continue to share the vision, stewardship and benefits of Prince Kuhio and enhance the perpetual growth of a healthy Hawaiian community.
Sponsored by the County of Kaua‘i, the DHHL and Ka Hale Pono, this year’s celebration will honor the late Aunty Jennie “Loke” Perreira who grew up on the reefs of the Ko‘olau district of Kaua‘i and had a deep knowledge of the fish and limu (seaweed) of these areas and how to care for them.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.
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