HAA Lahaina reinstated and gaining momentum
LAHAINA – The history of Lahaina is indeed rich; and, with the reinstatement of Hui Aloha ‘Aina o ka Malu ‘Ulu o Lele (HAA Lahaina) Hawaiian Patriotic League of Lahaina, the banks of our community are filling with strength and pride, and interest is growing.
The first meeting to restore was held on May 23 at Na Aikane o Maui Cultural Center. Since then, clear goals have been forged, fueling the group’s momentum forward.
Its history is noted on the organization’s website (haalahaina.org): “Hui Aloha ‘Aina o ka Malu ‘Ulu o Lele [HAA Lahaina] was founded in March of 1893 as a district branch of Ka Hui Hawai’i Aloha ‘Aina (Hawaiian Patriotic League), and it was officially restored on May 31st, 2019, in Lahaina, Maui.
Meetings are held monthly on the third Thursday.
Officers were elected in June: Ke’eaumoku Kapu, president; Kanani Puou, vice president; Puaokamele Dizon, secretary; and Nameaaea Hoshino, treasurer.
Its objectives are clear and written into the Hawaiian Patriotic League Constitution of 1893: ” to preserve and maintain, by all legal and peaceful means and measures, the Independent Autonomy of the Islands of Hawaii nei; and, if the preservation of our Independence be rendered impossible, our object shall then be to exert all peaceful and legal efforts to secure for the Hawaiian People and Citizens the continuance of their Civil Rights.”
Membership is offered to any adult over 18 years of age, living or working in Maui Nui, of good moral character and good standing in the community, and supportive of the objectives of HAA Lahaina.
A list of the members of the HAA Lahaina in 1894 is being compiled and currently consists of the following persons: Alice Aiona, Kamala Aiona, Mina Ahyee, C.B. Cockett, Mrs. C.B. Cockett, Maleka Kahanu, James Kahalepua, D. Kanuha, P. Kuamu, Matthew Makaula, Mrs. Makalua, Lavinia Makalua, R. H. Makekau, Mrs. R.H. Makekau, William Punohu White, Mrs. William White and Lele Duncan.
Other than officers, as of September, the current rolls of the organization include Michele Yvonne Haia, Danielle Makanamakamaemaikalanimaikikue Haia, Richard W. Iaconetti, Alicia Kalepa, Archie Kalepa, Uilani Kapu, Kaulana Kapu, Kelson Kawaguchi, Ka’ena Keahi, September Namealani Keahi, Malihini Keahi-Heath, Kaipo Kekona, Jon Edward Kaliponi Kinimaka, Clayton-Paul “Ulu” Nahooikaika, Leona Kehaulani Nahooikaika, Kamana Kaahanui Fung King Ng, Mapuana Pali, Shayna Kauiokapuaalahinano Podleweski, Antoinette-Marie Kaahanui Kaililaau Dizon, Shawn-Christian Napahi Dizon, Rose Agnes H. Dizon-Kaililaau and Cecilia Rose Reilly.
Secretary Puaokamele Dizon has multiple responsibilities, including membership chair and webmaster.
The website is user-friendly and a worthy read with old Hawaiian newspaper articles translated along with historical leadership bios and classical photographs and drawings of old as well as contemporary Lahaina and its people.
Puaokamele described her assets. “I’m familiar with a lot of the history and had been studying parliamentary law prior to joining. Aside from that, the most valuable lessons I’ve been learning in respect to the league is the nature of Hawaiian politics: how to communicate appropriately within and outside of the branch and league, how to interact with local officials, how to present an action effectively using the proper procedures and channels. These things I have been learning ‘on the ground,’ as they say, from our branch President Ke’eaumoku Kapu.”
She voiced her commitment.
“I joined HAA Lahaina, because the Hawaiian Patriotic League is not a movement; it is a deliberative assembly, a permanent society, which operates through parliamentary procedure.
“More than that,” she affirmed, “it is a deliberative assembly that does not present itself as a government, because it isn’t one. The league is made up of district branches wherein local issues may be addressed by members of the regional branch. There are currently eight district branches across four islands. The branches then send delegates, based on membership size, to the league’s annual convention wherein larger, Hawaii-wide issues may be addressed as a whole.”
Kanani Puou is more than a league officer. She is a spokesperson and oversees the group’s social media channels @HAALahaina on Facebook and Instagram.
Simply put, she said, “I believe that the restoration of this league is and has been a great way of showing our people that we do have a voice; we not just a tourist attraction.”
“In the end of my day,” Kanani advised, “I am doing this so that my kids (my nieces and nephews; I have a lot), I do this for them, so they can see a generational shift. In hopes that when I leave this Earth, that I know they are living in a place they can truly call home without feeling like the third class citizen. They don’t have to move to the Mainland to get better; they can do that here in their own home.”