WAILUA — Visitors to the Smith’s Tropical Paradise were treated to a rare event Friday afternoon.
“This sacred ceremony is not often seen in public,” said Dickie Chang, the host of the Aloha Festivals Royal Family investiture. “Silence is requested during the ceremony.”
The investiture marks the start of the 67th anniversary of the Aloha Festivals, an event initially used as a marketing tool to promote Hawaii and its unique culture, Chang said.
“From its early beginnings, it has grown to a week of festivities which we know as the Aloha Festivals,” he said.
Each year, the Royal Family is selected to represent each island.
Lopaka Colipano, the 2012 Aloha Festivals King, and Celina Baliaris-Rivera, the 2012 Aloha Festivals Queen, were honored as the investiture installed the 2013 Moi Kane, or King, Yasumori Aalona Quintin Poakikai, and Moi Wahine, or Queen, Elsie Puamailani Aloha Nakamura before an audience which filled the Smith’s Lagoon Theater.
The sound of the pu, or conch shell, caught the ears of passengers aboard the trams making its tour around Smith’s Paradise, eyes searching for the source of the exchange.
The pu announced the arrival of the Royal Court which included last year’s Moi Kane and Moi Wahine as well as this year’s Royal Family, accompanied by the Puloulou, or kapu stick representing the boundary marker, which in ancient times, meant death to anyone who passed it. Luke Rita had the kuleana, or responsibility, of the puloulou.
Kumu Puamohala Kaholokula, this year’s Mea oli, or chanter, softly chanted as the exchange of the royal regalia was performed, an off-distance oli symbolizing the end of the formal exchange and the start of hookupu, or gift presentations.
Flanking the group, kahili melemele and ulala, the familiar red and yellow feather standards, flanked the entourage.
Austin Perez-Jacintho, Kealii Colipano, Kalani Morikawa and Ryan Maloney represent this year’s kahili bearers.
Kamuela Hepa, Michael-Alan Kalapawai Kamohoalii Kama Drake and Kekoa Colipano carried the ihe, or spears, representing the selected warriors of the court, or bodyguards for each member of the Royal Family.
Mike Keolamaikai Drake bore the garb of office for the Kalaimoku, or high chief, officiating over the investiture and installation of the 2013 Royal Family.
In ancient time, the kalaimoku was the only person who could speak to the Royal Family and had the authority to make decisions for the entourage on when to move, as well as the well-being of the king.
Abi Rita and Makana Waiamau filled the role of chiefess who tended to the needs of the Queen and Princess.
During the investiture, Kiani Makalea Anuhea Puu-Blackstad was installed as Kamalii Wahine, or Princess, and Shannon Kalapawai Duarte was installed as Kamalii Kane, or Prince.
Lyah Kama Drake, representing the Aloha Festivals, joined the procession of people offering hookupu to the newly-installed court.
“Michael (kalaimoku) and Lyah Drake have been involved with the festivals for 10 years,” Chang said. “They greatly appreciate their children, Michael-Alan, Emmsley-James and Kaylyn for their help, patience and understanding in this journey.”
Headed by the Drake ohana, the Aloha Festivals gets help from Stella Burgess, the cultural practitioner at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, cultural advisors and former Aloha Festivals island managers Victor Punua Sr., Kumu Wallis Punua, Kumu Blaine Kia, Kumu Nathan Kalama, Kumu Maka Herrod, and Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.
The Aloha Festivals is made possible through the sponsorship of the County of Kauai and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Visit www.kauaialohafestivals.net for a complete schedule of 2013 Aloha Festivals events for Kauai.