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 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

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