Art work fit for royalty

LIHUE ­— Onio Punzal sounded the pu four times convening the dedication of a mosaic mural honoring Queen Lili’uokalani and the premiere of the film “Nawiliwili Bay; Past, Present, Future.”

Blake Labenz offered an opening oli at the Niumalu Canoe Club Hale on Kalapaki Bay April 18, and Patrick Cockett performed “The Queen’s Prayer.”

He also closed the ceremony by leading those in attendance with “Aloha ‘Oe,” two of the many songs written by the queen.

The mosaic mural depicts the night Queen Lili’uokalani sailed into Nawiliwili Bay on July 8, 1891, on her royal tour of the islands. Without the breakwater and harbor, the bay was large and dangerous, so her sailing ship anchored off shore to wait for daylight when the queen could be conveyed safely to shore.

As her subjects waited to welcome her, they illuminated the bay from the shores and surrounding hills with torches and beacon fires, deeply touching the queen. It was a time of great hope.

One month ago, on the spring equinox, Hale Opio Kauai Inc. and Niumalu Canoe Club hosted a re-enactment of the historical event. Over 150 people lit torches at Kalapaki Beach, illuminating their hearts with hope. The dedication Saturday, April 18 culminated the completion of the 12-feet-by-three-feet mosaic that was created to commemorate this royal visit.

Inspired by the queen’s love and her own steadfastness, the mural, titled “Onipa’a,” was completed by more than 100 Kauai youth, coordinated by Kat Ho of Hale Opio Kauai, assisted by Phyllis Hopek. Serge Marcil of 4D Media Productions premiered his film about youth as they explored the history, culture, present uses, and revitalization efforts around Nawilwili Bay.

Hawaii’s first ruling queen, and last ruling monarch, Lili’uokalani, instilled great love and loyalty in her people. Her motto was “E onipa’a…i ‘imi na’auao” (Be steadfast in the seeking of knowledge). It reminds us all of the hope she held for her people and the future of our youth.

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