Centennial Observance for Lili‘uokalani, Nov. 11

The public is invited to gather with Royal Orders and societies, cultural practitioners, kānaka, leaders of Ali‘i Trusts and dignitaries at the Queen’s promenade and statue on the grounds of the Hawai‘i State Capitol on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. for Aloha Lili‘u, a centennial observance of the life and legacy of Queen Lili‘uokalani.

Over 100 churches across the state will toll their church bells at 8:30 a.m. in honor of the last reigning monarch in Hawai‘i, replicating the moment of her passing on November 11, 1917. In addition to the bells, there will be 100 conch shell blowers (pū), as well as hula dancers (‘ōlapa), drums (pahu), and chanters (mea oli) from across the islands to pay homage to the Queen.

The program that morning will include pieces written by Queen Lili‘uokalani, performed by Hawaiian musicians Marlene Sai, Manu Boyd, Owana Salazar and the Aloha Lili‘u Choir led by Nola Nahulu.

“A century after her passing, she is still beloved by her people, many of whom have benefitted from her legacy,” said State Senator Kai Kahele, co-organizer of Aloha Lili‘u. “We hope through this observance, we can all be reminded of and emulate her spirit and character of grace, courage, strength and compassion.”

“More than just marking a milestone in history, this event is intended to provide an historical admonition for us today to act with intention which benefits the greater good and encourages the best in all of us,” said Senator Brickwood Galuteria, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs and co-organizer of Aloha Lili‘u. “This also begins a year of discussion and reflection on how the Queen’s legacy continues to impact our lives today and how as a State, we can continue to improve the lives of the people of Hawai‘i.”

For more information on Aloha Lili‘u, please visit www.alohaliliu.org.

World’s Largest Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races Celebrates 40th Anniversary of the Women’s Long Distance Race

Summer of 1974: President Nixon resigns, Hawaii elects George Ariyoshi as the nation’s first Japanese-American governor, John Lennon reports seeing a UFO in New York City, Eric Clapton’s “I Shot the Sheriff” is the number one hit song and for the first time ever – wahine (women) compete in a long distance outrigger canoe race in Kona, Hawaii.

Up until 1974, wahine crews only paddled in short-course regattas. “We knew we could do it. Our six-mile long distance race from Keauhou to Kailua kick-started what the race has grown to become today,” said Blondie Kamaka, one of the members of the pioneering Kai ‘Ōpua Canoe Club crew. “We paddled because we love it, now it’s a legacy. We knew we could go farther and we did the following year.”

2013 Queen Lili'uokalani wahine long distance outrigger canoe race

2013 Queen Lili’uokalani wahine long distance outrigger canoe race

Four crews from Hawaii Island along with crews from O’ahu, Kauai and Maui raced from Keauhou Bay to Kailua Bay and into the history books. The course was shorter back then, six miles instead of the 18-mile grueling race of today. Ask any of these crew members and they will agree that the thought of competing long distance was one that excited and challenged these now-veteran paddlers.

Race officials, including Mary Jane Kahanamoku who worked alongside her husband Louis Kahanamoku (the fifth of six brothers from the legendary water sports family whose most famous member was three-time Olympian Duke Kahanamoku) pushed to have the wahine included. The sport was rapidly evolving when,just two years earlier, this new Queen Lili’uokalani long distance race course had emerged as a way for men to prepare for the Molokai Channel Race.

Molokai 3

Accustomed to the short-distance regatta races that required no crew changes, the learning curve for open ocean racing would prove to be challenging for even the most seasoned wahine paddlers. The new six-mile long-distance course would require crew changes, so theyspent the summer learning how to climb in and out of the canoe while moving through open ocean. Not the easiest maneuver, but the coaches were committed, and through the bruises and bangs, by the end of the summer of ’74, the wahinewere ready to line up at the race start.

How did the men respond when race co-founder Mary Jane Kahanamoku of Kai ‘Ōpua Canoe Club pushed to include wahine? The men accommodated the change and helped train these wahine crews. Outrigger canoe veterans like Pops Kekua, Toots Crozier and Virginia Isbell helped oversee the course and made certain the rules were followed. Just five years later the dream was realized when, “Na Wahine o Ke Kai” – the Molokai to Oahu canoe race -followed suit.

This year, 2013, marks the 40th anniversary of the Queen Lili’uokalani wahine long distance outrigger canoe race. The Queen’s Race salutes these pioneer wahine and the support crews who believed in their ability to paddle an open ocean race and steered the way for others to follow. Forty years later, the wahine outrigger canoe racing has grown tremendously and this August the Queen’s Race will welcome over 120 teams to the women’s 18-mile race. Auntie Blondie’s granddaughter just started paddling and you can be sure Auntie Blondie will be on the start line to watch her race start.

Kai Opua4

To celebrate the anniversary, Kai ‘Ōpua will host a “talk story” with the original 1974 wahine paddlers, coaches and officials at which the public is invited to attend on Friday, August 30th at 5pm on the lawn at Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel and listen to the ocean stories these amazing women will relate.

Then on Saturday, August 30th, the world’s largest long distance race starts at Kailua Bay where the wahine paddle the Kona coast and head for their finish line 18miles away at Honaunau. Iron wahinecrews– those who paddle the entire 18 mileswithout any crew changes– start the race at 7:30 am, followed by the crews paddling in the Unlimited division (whose boats have no weight limit) and lastly, the wahine crews thatwill change paddlers throughout the race will get their start at 7:40 am. All of the long-distance races have five-minute split-staggered starts.

Photos by Brooke Wilson

Photos by Brooke Wilson

TheWa’a Kaukahi kane crews follow the same staggered start racing from Hōnaunau back to Kailua starting at 11:45 am. The first men’s crew is expected to cross the finish line in Kailua Bay about 1:00 pm.

Best place to view the races? Book a seat aboard “Blue Sea Cruises” Spirit of Kona catamaran or “Body Glove Cruises” Kanoa II 65 foot catamaran for a front row view of Saturday’s signature races. Both catamarans are available for transporting race participants and spectators andwill follow the races as they unfold to the wahine finish lineat Hōnaunau andthe kane finish line at Kailua.

Board Blue Sea Cruises catamaran “Spirit of Kona” at the Kailua Pier at 6:00 am for a 6:30 am departure. Cost for the tour is $40 for adult spectators and $33 for children 5 to 11 years old. Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase. For reservations call 808-331-8875 or book online blueseacruisesinc.com

BoardBody Glove Cruises 65′ catamaran “Kanoa II” for another opportunity for a front seat at the races. Board Kanoa II at Kailua Pier at 6:00 am with a 6:30 am departure. Cost for the Kanoa II tour catamaran is $50 for adult spectators, no children under 5 years old. Continental breakfast and BBQ lunch are included. For reservations call 808-326-7122 or book online bodyglovehawaii.com/canoe-race.

Kai Opua

Then as the sun sets, paddlers from around the world will gather in Kona to celebrate the day’s long-distances races and the numerous races to follow during the weekend with the traditional Queen Lili’uokalani Torch Light Parade that begins at Hale Halawai, travels through Historic Kailua Village and ends on Kailua Pier. The public is invited to cheer on the paddlers as they walk with torches along the Ali’i Drive parade route.

AdditionalQueen Lili’uokalani Canoe Race events throughout the three-day weekend:

Sunday, September 1

  • Wa’a Kaulua (Races for double-hull canoes)
  • OC1 (one person) & OC2 (two person canoes)
  • Stand-up Paddleboard Short and Long-course
  • Teen (Single hull canoes)

Monday, September 2

  •  Ali’i Challenge (A blend of Survivor and Amazing Race) Using single hull canoes with 12-person crews.

The 2013 Queen Lili’uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races are sponsored in part by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, Queen K Tesoro, Steinlager, OluKai, Ocean Paddler Television, Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Hulakai and numerous corporate and community donors.

For more race information, including a detailed slate of events, race information, photos, history and contacts, visit www.kaiopua.org.

Hulihe’e Palace Event Remembers Queen Lili‘uokalani

Enjoy a free Afternoon at Hulihe’e Palace 4-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16 to remember Hawai‘i’s most accomplished royal musician and composer, Queen Lili‘uokalani (1838-1917). Enjoy the voices of the Merrie Monarchs and the Hulihe‘e Palace Band.

The sister of King Kalakaua, Lili‘uokalani Kamaka‘eha attended the Royal School and was educated with four other rulers of Hawai‘i. She was given the Christian name Lydia.

“Lydia could read music at an early age and it is thought she had perfect pitch,” notes Casey Ballao, palace administrator. “She played piano, ‘ukulele and the organ—but the zither, which was in vogue in the U.S. and Europe—was her favorite. She also composed music.”

It was on a visit in 1878 to a Windward O‘ahu ranch that Lydia received the imagery and inspiration to pen the song that became the first Hawaiian “hit” outside of the kingdom, “Aloha ‘Oe.” Although Lydia wrote the words as a love song, the chorus and first verse were normally sung and the song became a popular island farewell song.

In 1862, Lydia married John Dominis, who later became the governor of O‘ahu. She acted as regent when Queen Kapiolani traveled abroad to attend the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887.  She took the name Lili‘uokalani in 1891 when it was agreed she would be heir to the throne. Her reign was a tragic one as the monarchy was overthrown in 1893 by American annexationists; the queen peacefully gave up her throne under protest. After an unsuccessful counterrevolution, the queen was imprisoned in ‘Iolani Palace for eight months.

Hulihe‘e Palace

After Lili‘uokalani’s imprisonment, she returned to Washington Place and wrote “Hawai‘i’s Story by Hawai‘i’s Queen.” “In 1909 she set up a fund to help Hawaiian children and today the Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center helps over 2,000 children annually,” added Ballao.

Hulihe‘e Palace is open for self-guided tours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturdays. Palace admission, which at this time includes a self-guided tour brochure, remains $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and $1 for keiki under 18.

Volunteer docents are sometimes available to give guided tours. For details, contact the palace at 329-1877, the palace office at 329-9555 or visit www.daughtersofhawaii.org. The gift shop can be reached by phoning 329-6558.

Caretakers of Hulihe‘e Palace are the Daughters of Hawai‘i and the Calabash Cousins. The Daughters was founded in 1903 and opens membership to any woman who is directly descended from a person who lived in Hawai‘i prior to 1880. Helping the Daughters in its efforts since 1986 are the Calabash Cousins; membership is available to all.

Hulihe‘e Palace

2012 Afternoon at Hulihe‘e schedule: 4-5 p.m. on the palace grounds

All Afternoons at Hulihe’e present hula by Na Pua U‘i O Hawai‘i Hula Halau and vocals by the Merrie Monarchs. Some events also include the Hulihe’e Palace Band and are noted below. On band dates, only kahiko hula is showcased. Other events offer a full hula show.

  • Jan 15: Band appearance remembering King Charles “Lunalilo” and Aunty I‘olani Luahine
  • Feb 19: Event remembering Princess Ruth Ke‘elikolani
  • Mar 18: Band appearance remembering Queen Ka‘ahumanu and Prince Kuhio
  • Apr 15: Event remembering Prince Edward Albert
  • May 20: Event remembering King Kamehameha IV “Alexander Liholiho”
  • Jun 10: Band appearance remembering King Kamehameha I “Paiea”
  • Jul 15: Event remembering John Adams Kuakini
  • Aug 26: Event remembering King Kamehameha III “Kauikeaouli”
  • Sep 16: Band appearance remembering Queen Lili‘uokalani
  • Oct 21: Event remembering Princess Ka‘iulani
  • Nov 18: Band appearance remembering King Kalakaua, Palace Curator Aunty Lei Collins and Bandmaster Charles “Bud Dant
  • Dec 16: Event remembering Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop