‘Something that lives past you’

LIHUE — Tradition can seem daunting.

Ask anyone charged with continuing a legacy and they’ll say the responsibility behind upholding long-established values and customs isn’t anything to take lightly.

“They’re big shoes to fill,” said Pammy Chock, coordinator for the recently established Kauai chapter for the nonprofit, Daughters of Hawaii, who is tasked with spreading the group’s mission on the island. “They’re, like, really big shoes.”

That’s because the Daughters have been around since 1903 preserving Hawaii’s history, language and otherwise championing the islands’ past. Inclusion into the group requires members to trace their family roots back to Hawaii to 1870. With palaces in Honolulu and Kona, the formation of the Kauai chapter in May marks the first time the legacy group has expanded.

So yeah, there can be some pressure there.

“We don’t have a palace,” Chock said of the historic, if not luxurious, gathering places in Honolulu and Kona. “But it doesn’t mean we can’t do good work in the community.”

The group meets monthly at the Kauai Museum on Rice Street in Lihue. With 30 members, they plan to start hosting Hawaiian theme book clubs, where they’ll invite the authors to Kauai as well as host weekly hula classes. They’ll be a fixture at community events, as they participated in Prince Kuhio Days and are at the Emalani Festival today.

“We’ll be busy,” Chock said Friday before heading to Kokee for the festival.

That’s music to Honolulu group’s ears.

They’re excited to see the expansion and hope to establish a chapter in Maui one day, too. But it’s the pep they like about the Kauai startup.

“They’re young, vivacious,” said Daughters of Hawaii Regent Julie Watson, who traveled to Kauai, along with Assistant Treasurer Bonnie Stevens, for today’s festival.

There are 1,700 members around the world. But Watson added that Chock shouldn’t be nervous about filling big shoes.

“In 20 years, that’s what they’re going to say about you,” she told Chock.

Those interested in joining should contact the Kauai Museum. While it is a legacy group, those who can’t trace their bloodlines that far back can join a group that supports them, The Calabash Cousins of Hawaii. Either way, the mission remains preserving and spreading history.

“It’s really a gift to be able to share that,” Chock said. “It’s your daughters, it’s your nieces, family members. It’s something that lives past you.”

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