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Lahaina parade honors the Kamehameha Monarchy

By Staff | Jun 11, 2009

LAHAINA — Under Parade Marshals Adelaide Kaiwi (Kuamu) Sylva and Henrietta Heneli Mahuna, Na Kamehameha Pa‘u Parade & Ho‘olaule‘a will be held Saturday, June 13, on Front Street.

Befitting the two manaleo (Native Hawaiian speakers) leading the procession, this year’s theme is “E Ho‘i I Ka Piko Aloha A E Ola Mau Ka Olelo Hawaii (Return to Cultural Honor and Caring — The Hawaiian Language Lives).”

The parade will begin at Kenui Street at 9:45 a.m. and proceed south to Moku‘ula near Shaw Street.

Front Street will be closed to traffic along the parade route beginning at 8:30 a.m., and at 9 a.m. side streets connecting to Front Street will be closed. Police and community volunteers will be posted at each intersection.

This colorful floral parade through Lahaina Town will feature pa‘u riders on horses decorated with exotic flowers representing each island in the state.

The community parade also includes colorful floats, decorated vehicles and marching bands, all honoring the Kamehameha Dynasty.

“This year, you can expect nothing less than a fabulous pa‘u parade,” said Parade Co-chair Daryl Fujiwara.

Students in Lahaina Hawaiian Immersion Schools will march in the parade, and newly honored Miss Aloha Hula, Henohea Kane of Halau Ke‘alaokamaile under the direction of Keali‘i Reichel, will join the colorful procession.

Commentary will be featured along the parade route at Longhi’s, Kimo’s, Cheeseburger in Paradise, BJ’s Chicago Pizzeria and The Wharf Cinema Center.

Fujiwara explained that unity is a theme for the parade and the Kamehameha Monarchy.

“Kamehameha I unified all the islands and so did his kin, always for the good of the people. Today, we continue this tradition in gathering our people together to practice our culture. By practicing the culture, we keep it alive,” he said.

“This is another reason why we showcase pa‘u — to symbolize the unity of our eight islands, represented and adorned with each of the island’s perspective flower, all sewn together by one beautiful monarchy.”

The 2009 parade’s focus on the Hawaiian language is embodied in Sylva and Mahuna, Fujiwara explained.

“Aunty Addy and Aunty Henrietta didn’t have the resources we have today. They learned the language through their upbringing — a rare feat to their generation for fear of being caught and persecuted by our occupying government. For courageously continuing to keep our language alive, we honor them, our kupuna,” he said.

“Olelo Hawaii was on the brink of extinction. Thankfully, through the strength of our people around the 1970s, during what is known as the Aloha ‘Aina Movement, aspects of our culture began to resurface. It is because of their courage that we have the resources we have today,” Fujiwara continued.

“Language is like a conduit — with it, we’ve been able to identify with and decipher our past; and, from this deep understanding of culture, our values are directly influenced.”

An awards ceremony will follow the parade in Banyan Tree Park, where an arts festival is slated from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free ho‘olaule‘a will feature island food and crafts, pa‘u dressing and riding demonstrations and Hawaiian entertainment.

“Our ho‘olaule‘a is going to have great live music and dance,” said Fujiwara.

There will be Maui-made-only crafts, Hawaiian plate lunches and shave ice by Molten Volleyball Club, a Lei Stand with the Lahaina Hawaiian Civic Club and a plant sale to support the West Maui Relay for Life.

Fujiwara, who graduated from Lahainaluna High School in 2001, took the reins for the entire event about a month ago.

“I took it on, because I felt like I was ‘called’ to do it — my kuleana, my responsibility, handed down,” he explained. “Perpetuating the Hawaiian culture runs in my family.”

His great-grandmother, Elaine Mullaney, was integral in producing Aloha Festivals; his grandmother, Edwina Smythe, continued this tradition here in Lahaina; and Smythe’s daughter, Crystal Alboro, Fujiwara’s aunt, took on Aloha Festivals and the parade, “now passing it to me,” he said.

Fujiwara was given a short span of time to stage the parade, but the event has a strong foundation of community support with volunteers who return every year.

“My Aunty Crystal calls it a grassroots effort from a zero budget. The event is run entirely on outside contributions in time, energy and funds,” he noted.

Matthew Erickson of the Lahaina Hawaiian Civic Club is serving as parade co-chair, and Parade Committee members include Alboro, Sue Reyes (Pa‘u Coordinator), Wilmont Kahaiali‘i, Holoaumoku Ralar and Hailama Farden.

The parade is coordinated by LahainaTown Action Committee with help from Pacific Radio Group, Smythe Fujiwara Design and the Lahaina Hawaiian Civic Club.

“Various ‘ohana of Maui have kuleana or responsibilities to this event, and that’s how it survives. Whether it’s dressing the pa‘u riders, commentating the parade, finding and organizing the pa‘u riders, playing music and entertaining at Keawa‘iki, or lining the parade at the start, everyone has a strength and has a place in making this event successful,” Fujiwara said.

“The youth really are stepping up to the plate, and I attribute this to the language and culture being revitalized. Having a huge influence on our values, I think there is a deeper understanding to kuleana. For instance, a lot of our pa‘u riders aren’t all seasoned like you’d expect — instead they are young ladies, equestrian enthused.”

He cited his longtime friend and “hula brother,” Matthew Erickson of the Lahainaluna High School Class of 1996, among the young people stepping up to the plate to help plan the parade.

Fujiwara said the parade is much more than a showcase to passing tourists along Front Street. The event perpetuates the art of pa‘u and honors traditions by Hawaiian leaders.

“In the past, parades have been under heavy scrutiny by opinionated locals. But parades are not only to showcase, they are also utilized to honor importance. Our ali‘i knew that. They held parades — processions of people and objects — just to see their people, be around their people, because they were for their people,” he concluded.

For information on the parade, call LahainaTown Action Committee at 667-9175.

In conjunction with the parade and ho‘olaule‘a, The Wharf Cinema Center on June 13 will host entertainment by Ron Hetteen and Friends from noon to 2 p.m. Admission is free. 

The Wharf Cinema Center is located directly across from Banyan Tree Park. For more information, call 661-8748.