Month-long celebrations remember Prince Kuhio’s resolve for Hawaii’s people

Barb Forsyth

HONOLULU—Faith, hope, and charity. These traits were attributed to Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Piʻikoi in a January 1923 U.S. Congressional Record in remembrance of the former Congressional delegate and royal Hawaiian as a man who cultivated the healing process for the people of Hawaii, who were losing their identity as a sovereign people.

“The prince never failed of an opportunity to impress upon his native people the importance of maintaining their race and of establishing and maintaining a home of their own,” the Congressional Record stated. “His purpose was to perpetuate as long as possible the vanishing race of the Hawaiians.”

Prince Kuhio was a nephew of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani. After the overthrow, the prince became Hawaii’s second delegate to the U.S. Congress. The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921 and the Hawaiian Civic Clubs movement are his legacies. Prince Kuhio’s home was named Pualeilani, meaning “royal garland of flowers,” and was located in Waikiki at what is now Kuhio Beach.

Prince Kuhio is remembered each year on Prince Kuhio Day, March 26, for his resolve in standing up for Hawaiian independence, organizing local government systems still used today, and founding the first Hawaiian Civic Club in 1918.

The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs announced a series of events connected with the celebration of Prince Kuhio Day. The month-long celebration will culminate in the Prince Kuhio Day Parade in Waikiki on March 26. 

Sponsored by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Kamehameha Schools, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, these events promise opportunities to explore and celebrate the many facets of Hawaiian culture.

On March 5, the Holoku Ball was hosted by the members of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu to raise scholarship funds for Hawaiian students and to recognize notable persons and or businesses in the community who have contributed significantly to the Native Hawaiian culture. This year’s honorees were Judge Thomas K. Kaulukukui, Jr. (retired), Chair, Board of Trustees, Queen Liliuokalani Trust; Leinaala Kalama Heine, Kumu Hula, Na Pua O Likolehua; Dr. Isabella Kauakea Aiona Abbott, Educator, Ethnobotanist (posthumous).

The Native Hawaiian Health Festival
Saturday, March 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Hawaii Maoli, Kapolei

A blending of health and culture, the Native Hawaiian Health Festival brings together agencies and organizations to share information related to Native Hawaiian Health. Featured activities will include demonstrations on exercises, indigenous healthy foods, traditional healing practices, and cultural demonstrations. Hawaiian music and hula round out the day’s events.

An enriching cultural experience, this free event takes place in the backyard of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands in Kapolei.

For more information, contact Kealii Lum at [email protected] or (808) 291-5038.

Prince Kuhio Choral Concert
Thursday, March 17 at 7:00 p.m.
Kawaiahao Church
957 Punchbowl Street

The Prince Kuhio Festival’s annual concert of choral music is this year under the direction of choral master, Nola Nahulu and produced by Kawaiolaonapukanileo. Through the narration of each choral arrangement, the audience learns about historical places and prominent persons in Hawaiian history. It also celebrates compositions of some of Hawaii’s most notable composers.

Groups such as Kawaiolaonapukanileo, Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, UH Manoa Hawaiian Ensemble, the Kawaiahao Church Choir, the Na Leo Kuhookahi, and the Windward Community College Ensembles are scheduled to perform.

For more information, contact Nola Nahulu at [email protected] or (808) 591-9449.

ADA Walk for Diabetes
Saturday, March 19 from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Kapiolani Park

As part of the Prince Kuhio Festival, The American Diabetes Association sponsors an annual walk to help raise funds for its work and to raise awareness that Hawaiians have the highest rates of diabetes. The walk begins with a performance by the Royal Hawaiian Band and numerous booths provide educational information on diabetes and distribute free diabetic products.

Pualeilani Festival of the Arts
Saturday, March 19 from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Royal Hawaiian Center

The Royal Hawaiian Center joins the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs in a day of Hawaiian arts. Folk, fine, and performing arts, Hawaiian music, traditional and modern hula, demonstrations, and displays will fill The Royal Grove with the sites and sounds of old Hawaii.

For more information, contact Manu Boyd at 931-3111 or [email protected].

Alii Sunday
Kawaiahao Church
Sunday, March 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Alii Sunday Services at Kawaiahao Church in honor of Prince Kuhio. The public is invited to attend.

Prince Kuhio Commemorative Parade
Saturday, March 26, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
From Saratoga/Kalakaua Avenue to Kapiolani Park

The parade honors the accomplishments of Prince Kuhio, founder of the Hawaiian Civic Club movement and proponent of the Hawaiian Homestead Act of 1920. Grandmarshals this year are Roy Benham and Bert Barber, respected cultural practitioners who have dedicated their lives to advocating for the betterment of Native Hawaiians.

The parade also honors the dedication and commitment of a multitude of individuals and organizations who work year-round to practice and to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and who enhance the welfare and well-being of the Native Hawaiian community. 

Learn about the work of the Royal Societies, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Hawaiian Homestead Associations, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Alu Like, Inc., the Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center, and numerous community organizations, halau hula, and marching units. Each year, members of the Royal Societies (Royal Order of Kamehameha, Kaahumanu Society, Hale O Na Alii, and Mamakakaua) also participate. Rare Hawaiian flags of the Hawaiian Kingdom will be on display.

For more information, contact Shari Gambio at (808) 688-8949 or [email protected].

Prince Kuhio Hoolaulea and Hoikeike
Saturday, March 26, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Kapiolani Park Bandstand

The Hoolaulea/Hoikeike at Kapiolani Park features Native Hawaiian arts and crafts, exhibits by various Native Hawaiian organizations and businesses, and wonderful food. The afternoon is filled with entertainment by Hawaiian musicians.

For more information, contact Ulu Beirne-Keawe at [email protected] or (808) 237-8856.

There are also several events throughout March happening on Kauai and Hawaii Island.

On Kauai, there will be an annual celebration of Prince Kuhio at Prince Kuhio Park in Poipu, Koloa, Kauai on Saturday, March 26 at 10:30 a.m. The event is hosted by the Royal Order of Kamehameha.

On Hawaii Island, The La’iopua Hawaiian Homestead and the Kuakini Hawaiian Civic Club celebrate Prince Kuhio with an arts and crafts festival at the Kealakee High School in Kona on Wednesday, March 16 from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Hulihee Palace will also hold a free open house on Prince Kuhio Day, Saturday, March 26 at 10:00 a.m. featuring Hawaiian culture and the arts.