Be part of history at the Lahaina Royal Ho‘ike
LAHAINA — The “Lahaina Royal Ho’ike — From the Keiki to Ka’iulani and the Crown” on Saturday, Oct. 16, will be the first event in history to pay tribute to Queen Keopuolani and Crown Princess Ka’iulani Cleghorn with full honors, said Paulo Faleafine II of the Royal Hawaiian Guard.
Set for 9 a.m. at Waiola Church, the ho’ike (meaning that which is shown, to know, as in the sight to see) will celebrate Ka’iulani’s 135th birthday and the Hawaiian Kingdom’s Bicentennial (1810-2010).
Faleafine, one of the ho’ike’s many coordinators, explained that the event will feature many “firsts” in a town rich in history.
“I am excited to announce that the Lahaina Royal Ho’ike will include protocols that will be done for the first time in over a hundred years and many rarely ever see,” he said.
“I believe people will be awed and inspired by the evening events being done for the respect and honor of our ancestors. This is a cultural event that we are sharing with the community.”
The evening protocols will include the presentation of the only existing official portrait of Sacred High Chief Keopuolani for the first time at her royal tomb.
“It is the first time in history that the official portrait of Queen Keopuolani will sit at her royal tomb at Waiola Church. The portrait will be generously on loan from Kamehameha Schools of Oahu for that evening only. It will be carried by the Hawaii Royal Order of Guards from Oahu to Maui and met by official salute at Kahului Airport by the Royal Hawaiian Guard of Maui,” said Jennifer Fahrni of The Ka’iulani Project, who organized the event with Faleafine and Wilmont Kahaialii of Waiola Church.
“It will also be the first time that the Royal Order of Kamehameha, with two guard units — the Hawaii Royal Order of Guards from Oahu and the Royal Hawaiian Guard of Maui — will come together in Lahaina to perform the Official Hawaiian Protocol and Ho’okupu Offerings in honor of the ali’i.”
With free admission from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Lahaina Royal Ho’ike will feature entertainment all day. Performers will include Uncle Richard Ho’opi’i, The Kahaialii ‘Ohana, Na Kamali’i O Ke Akua, Hiki No, The Krueger ‘Ohana, Tava Nui Drummers, Kahi Kolu from the Big Island, Celtic Hart, Scottish bagpipers (including Hamish Burgess, Hawaii’s “Scot of the Year”) and some surprise guests.
Kama’aina and visitors can learn about culture and history with Maui Historical Society, Bailey House Museum and guided tours of the sacred grounds of Moku’ula, which was home to high chiefs from the 16th to 19th centuries and served as a political and spiritual capital for the Hawaiian Kingdom.
Attendees can view some never-before-seen photographs relating to the life of Princess Ka’iulani from The Ka’iulani Project, which has been working with archivists, museums and descendants of the princess.
The ho’ike will also feature food, a silent auction, Hawaiian games and keiki activities.
At 6 p.m., the Luau o Ka’iulani Feast & Show will begin. Admission is $35.
Ho’opi’i will entertain during the Hawaiian feast prepared by the Royal Order of Kamehameha.
Crown Princess Ka’iulani’s grace and determination will be told through letters, interviews and selected scenes from the original script “Ka’iulani, The Island Rose” by Fahrni and Carol Harvie-Yamaguchi.
Performers will include Halau ‘O Keaunui ‘O Maui, Ehulani Kane, Fahrni, Kahaialii and the Royal Hawaiian Guard.
Archivists at Bishop Museum recently uncovered important historical letters. One of these moving notes will be read at the luau.
“Also, a life-sized portrait of Her Royal Highness Princess Ka’iulani — that was recently painted by Maui artist Matt Holton — will be debuted for the first time. The princess’ portrait will be carried in by her descendants, who will be participating officially in protocol for the first time since the late 1800s,” Faleafine noted.
“Further, the Royal Hawaiian Guard will be presenting the ‘Oli Ka Hae’ (Chant to the Hawaiian Flag) originally written in 1862 and not performed by any Royal Guard unit since 1893,” he continued.
“This event includes many firsts that we hope evolves and grows into a mainstay within Lahaina. We look forward to all in Hawaii, including our visitors, participating with us and being part of this history.”
Fahrni commented that Lahaina is home to incredible cultural and historic sites. Events like the ho’ike keep the history alive and teach children.
“It’s important to know about where you are and where you’re from. It’s grounding,” she said.
“The history is right here in front of our eyes. Few people are so lucky to have these historical and sacred sites in their back yard, like we do in Lahaina. That comes with a responsibility.”
Faleafine explained that exploring Lahaina’s royal past and its role as the former capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom brings history and culture to the forefront and “becomes a source of strength and identity for our community.
“We must restore and perpetuate Lahaina’s history as a royal capital with all entitled honors for the sake of future generations and the community,” he added.
In addition to staging an authentic Hawaiian event, Fahrni is passionate about telling the story of Princess Ka’iulani, who, in the wake of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, led a movement to reinstate the kingdom.
Fahrni has been involved in the Ka’iulani Project (www.thekaiulaniproject.com) for the past eight years.
“Ka’iulani is a great role model for young folks today. She understood the value of her education, artistic endeavors, her friendships and understanding her roots. She was a modern thinker,” she said.
“The reason I continue to tell Ka’iulani’s story is to give the young people of today — and us old people for that matter — an example of someone who, by standing strong and telling the truth, changed history.
“She didn’t fail. If she hadn’t spoken up, then maybe you could say she had failed. But in the face of the worst untruths about herself and her family, when all seemed lost, Ka’iulani, with the greatest dignity, spoke up and simply set the record straight. Her words are still strong today, and people are listening,” she concluded.
Waiola Church is located at 535 Wainee St. For luau tickets or information, call 250-9196 or visit www.thekaiulaniproject.com.