An annual ceremony celebrating the legacy of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalananiana‘ole Pi‘ikoi, who was born on March 26, 1871, was held in a spot near the sacred site known as the Prince Kuhio Park in Poipu.
“The stone platform to the left of the prince’s statue was where his birthing house was located,” said Warren Perry of the Royal Order of Kamehameha at the celebration, where dignitaries from government, resorts and the community offered their respective hookupu in tribute to the accomplishments achieved by Kuhio.
Among those achievements include the formation of the Royal Order of Kamehameha following the overthrow of the Hawaiian government, and his taking the post of Ali‘i Aimoku until his death in 1922.
The Royal Order of Kamehameha, Chapter 3 Kaumuali‘i, in addition to leading the tribute to the Prince of the People, is the caretaker for the Prince Kuhio Park, and celebrated its 100th anniversary Saturday.
It was established on Kauai on Dec. 5, 1918.
Tom Shigemoto of A&B Properties, following his hookupu presentation on behalf of A&B Hawaii and the Kukuiula Development, announced that the deed for 16 additional acres to the existing five-acre Prince Kuhio Park is nearly done, and turnover of the land to the Royal Order should be complete by year’s end.
“We’re having a green belt in this area,” said Julie Souza, president of the Ahahui Kaahumanu, a Hawaiian organization, and whose home is located close to the park. “People are always taking, taking, so this is good we’re having more open land.”
Perry said the process of the additional land was a long one.
The Royal Order of Kamehameha led efforts to restore the birth site of the prince, and following the establishment of the Kuhio Memorial Park — Ka Paka Ho‘omano Kuhio in Hawaiian — was dedicated with more than 10,000 attendees in a celebration that lasted several days.
The park was established on Oct. 27, 1924, when a deed was recorded in the Bureau of Conveyances by which McBryde Sugar Co., through A&B, donated the land for the park to the Order of Kamehameha for the exclusive use and benefit of the Kauai “Kaumuali‘i” Chapter.
“We spent a lot of time discussing our responsibilities to the land, and A&B’s responsibilities to the land,” Perry said. “It started back in the 1980s following Hurricane Iwa when this park — this whole area — was devastated. A&B asked if we wanted the additional land. That was a lot to ask, and one day, while having a rest from working this park, Uncle Jimmy said, ‘Call Tom and see if he still has the land available.’”
Perry said he kept forgetting to call Shigemoto, and when he finally remembered, the phone rang.
“Akua takes care,” Perry said. “I was literally reaching for the phone when it rang, and guess who was on the other end? Tom was calling to see if the Royal Order would reconsider.”
Future plans include the expansion of Prince Kuhio Park to encompass a 16-acre cultural preserve for the land bordering the park, and setting a path to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of the Order of Kamehameha for the next 100 years.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com