Praising Prince Kuhio

POIPU — Prince Jonah Kuhio, born March 26, 1871 in an area near Poipu, Kauai, had the preservation and the perpetuation of Hawaiian values, culture, and education as one of his visions.

This led to the formation of the Hawaiian civic clubs, which served to stimulate civic efforts and education within the Hawaiian community while promoting the Hawaiian culture.

His advocacy was brought to the forefront Friday as George Thronas, cultural director at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, led the protocol ceremony and accompanying craft fair and demonstrations honoring the birth of Prince Kuhio.

Among the ho‘okupu being offered, Kekai Kapu, cultural director at the Maui Ocean Center, presented a hina‘i, a woven basket which served as a fish trap.

“Today, this is symbolic of the collection of stories by kupuna,” Kapu said. “They are everywhere, and if you stop to talk to them, they have boundless number of stories.”

Aunty Janet Kahalekomo was just one of the kupuna, having four generations of her family offering ho‘okupu and continuing to lead demonstrations on traditional salt gathering and making, lei, kalo, toys and games under the canopy of music provided by the Alu Like kupuna.

“You start them young,” the elder Kahalekomo said. “These young boys, we used to take them to the mud and they had to help so they could learn. These children, many of them mothers to the boys, came to the Prince Kuhio service because it was how they learned. Today, the young boys, they love to show off for people.”

One of the visiting groups, the University of Hawaii School of Social Work, Hawaiian Learning Program, offered its oli ho‘okupu, breaking up and melding into the group of visitors, crafters, and Hawaiiana demonstrators.

“This is perfect because the kids are able to attend because of the public schools’ spring break,” a student said while watching the fourth generation of Kahalekomo keiki explain Hawaiian tops created from seeds, including the kukui nut.

“This is real,” Kapu said. “This should be every day.”

More Prince Kuhio celebrations are on tap as the Royal Order of Kamehameha hosts the formal protocol ceremony, starting at 10 a.m. today at the Prince Kuhio Park, a site close to the birthplace of the prince of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Taiko Tsunami will open the day of craft fairs and cultural demonstrations from 9 a.m. Sunday at the Grand Hyatt Kauai lobby and Seaview Terrace areas.

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