POIPU — Na alii knew how to take care of Hawaii’s people, Warren Perry said Saturday during the Prince Kuhio Celebration at Prince Kuhio Park.
Citing examples, Perry of the Royal Order of Kamehameha, Chapter No. 3 “Kaumualii,” said there were alii whose focus centered on a wide range of issues involving the welfare of Hawaiian people, including education and health. Prince Jonah Kuhio, born on March 26, 1871, was concerned about getting land back to Hawaii’s people.
“I am honored to be working for an agency that is responsible for seeing the prince’s dream come true,” said Erna Kamibayashi of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
The DHHL recently awarded 20 lots to residents, and there are plans to award an additional 50 lots in Anahola.”
The annual protocol ceremony took place at Prince Kuhio Park, an area near Hoai, Kualu, in the Koloa District where Kuhio was born. The opening procession, led by Puni Patrick offering the oli, passed the array of lei ho‘okupu created by the various Hawaiian organizations offering ho‘okupu at the bust of Kuhio, which is centrally located in the park owned by the Royal Order of Kamehameha.
Kuhio served as Alii Aimoku for the Royal Order of Kamehameha from its re-establishment in 1903 until his passing in 1922.
“We own it,” Perry said of the park. “In 1924, we were deeded five acres of land for the park. Today, we are planning to expand the park by another 16 acres.”
Organizations were called on to present their ho‘okupu while a flotilla of outrigger canoes traversed the ocean in the background as part of the Prince Kuhio Day canoe races.
One group noted that Kuhio — an avid sportsman excelling in football and track and the last alii monarch trained in the higher art of Hawaiian fighting called lua — created the first outrigger racing canoe.
Brandee Kahalekomo of Aunty Janet Kahalekomo’s ohana, members of a Hawaiian civic club, apologized for not being “dressed up” after being chided by one of the aunties.
“Aunty Janet could not be part of the ceremony because she became ill a few months ago, and is recovering,” Brandee Kahalekomo said. “But she made sure I came. She drove me here and is sitting up there, watching. She wants us (younger people) to take over. I got the memo, and next year, I will be sure to be ‘dressed up.’”
March 26 is observed as Kuhio Day in Hawaii, a state holiday established in 1949 that celebrates the birth of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Piikoi.
More celebrations continue today when the Tsunami Taiko open a day of cultural demonstrations and craft fair at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa starting at 9 a.m.
Monday, the day government offices recognize as this year’s holiday, Kumu Hula Troy Lazaro said the Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club will host its annual Prince Kuhio celebration starting at 10 a.m. in Poipu.