POIPU — Prince Kuhio commemorations continue through the weekend, including the annual commemoration service hosted by the Royal Order of Kamehameha, Chapter No. 3 Kaumuali‘i, starting at 10 this morning at the Prince Kuhio Park.
The opening protocol of a three-day celebration at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, Prince Kuhio Day is a state holiday celebrating the birth of Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana‘ole Pi‘ikoi on March 26 at Hoai, Kualu in the Koloa District of Kauai in 1871.
“Aunty Stella Burgess, the late cultural practitioner at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, would be real proud of him,” said Diann Hartman of the Grand Hyatt Kauai. “Kolo — he’s a bartender, here — has matured and progressed into a great person.”
Kolo sounded the pahu that announced the Grand Hyatt Kauai leadership team led by cultural practitioner Sandi Quinsaat and General Manager Dan King, who opened the three-day commemoration with the opening protocol where lei ho‘okupu was presented by the leadership team and members of the audience, including the Kahalekomo ohana, Ku‘uipo Kumukahi, the cultural practitioner at the Grand Hyatt Waikiki, and Kekai Kapu.
“We have three generations of the Janet Kahalekomo ohana, here today,” said Brandee Kahalekomo. “If my parents were here, there would be four generations, starting with Aunty Janet.”
The Kahalekomo ohana were part of the cultural presentations and demonstrations that followed the opening protocol, the ‘ohana presenting salt making, coconut frond weaving, kalo, and more.
“You have to bring them when they’re young so they learn,” said Aunty Janet, a member of a Hawaiian civic club, the first one being started by Prince Kuhio as part of his efforts at preserving the Hawaiian people and its culture. “Brandee and Chelsie started coming to the Prince Kuhio ceremony at the park when they were the size of my great grandchildren. They need to know because one day, I’m not going to be able to do this. They need to know what to do so they can follow.”
Malie Jumawan, working the kapa making table, said she, too was a product of learning by doing.
“Sabra Kauka started this kapa-making demonstration,” Jumawan said. “But now, she can’t do it so I’m here. This piece I’m working on, it’s not the same as Sabra would’ve wanted, it’s not the same color. But the piece had naturally occuring brown in it, and instead of throwing it away, I wanted to see how it would come out.”
Visitors streamed through the corridors filled with cultural demonstrations and crafters.
“This is the rainy time,” said Chelise Kahalekomo. “The salt pans fill with water and we pretty much stay indoors to make baskets and ready the tools for the next harvest. When the rains leave, the water dries and we go out to harvest.”
More celebration events continue at the Grand Hyatt Kauai where a silent auction table helped raise funds for the annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk coming up on May 12 at the North Vidinha soccer fields.
Tonight, following the Royal Order of Kamehameha service, the Grand Hyatt Kauai performs a torch-lighting ceremony and hula presentations paying tribute to the “Prince of the People” at the Seaview Terrace starting from 5 p.m.
Sunday opens with a performance from the Tsunami Taiko ensemble starting at 10 a.m. to herald the start of the craft fair which continues to 3 p.m.
Monday, the Prince’s birthday, will have the Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club hosting its Prince Kuhio program starting at 10 a.m.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.