KUKUIULA — Warren Perry, after symbolically turning over the responsibility of emcee at the Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole commemorative service to his son Kimo Perry, could not resist the opportunity for a verbal fencing match with Tom Shigemoto, an A&B Hawaii vice president.
“Thirty years,” Perry said. “We’ve been talking about this 16 acres for the past 30 years at each of the Prince Kuhio services. Eveything was finally finalized May 10, 2018 (just weeks after the Prince Kuhio service held in late March) and many of us won’t be around when this addition to the Prince Kuhio Park becomes as beautiful as the park is today. Chadley Schimmelfennig will be leading the effort to clear the land.”
The Royal Order of Kamehameha, Chapter No. 3 Kaumuali‘i not only coordinates the annual service celebrating the birth of Kuhio, described as the great grandson of Kauai Ali‘i Kaumuali‘i, the order is the caretaker of Prince Kuhio Park, the property situated close to where Kuhio was born on March 26, 1871.
The gift by A&B Hawaii to the royal order was just one of a steady flow of ho‘okupu (gifts) from the significant Hawaiian organizations, government dignitaries and community groups that benefit from Kuhio’s work of trying to rehabilitate the Hawaiian people.
He did this through the formation of the first Hawaiian Civic Club in 1918, a movement that has grown to include more than 60 distinct organizations across Hawaii and in the continental United States.
“He wanted people to be engaged, civically,” said Kaliko Santos of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. “When I reflect on the Hawaiian ali‘i, I am impressed with the wide areas of concern and the differences they made for the people of Hawaii. I look in the mirror, and I have to tell myself, ‘What can I do to make a difference the way Kuhio had?’”
Kuhio also worked to re-establish the Royal Order of Kamehameha and served as its ali‘i ‘aimoku from 1903 until his passing in 1922.
On his deathbed, Kuhio urged a friend to continue fighting for native rights, being quoted with advice that remains useful today: “Stick together and try to agree to the best of your ability to meet the most important problem: the rehabilitation of our race.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.