NORTH KOHALA — King Kamehameha, born and raised in Kohala, had a strong connection to his land.
For many indigenous people, the land isn’t a separate entity. It is treated with the same love and respect you would give a family member. This was true for the Hawaiians as well and the reason for their successful existence all those years prior to outside contact.
The annual North Kohala’s Kamehameha Day Celebration on June 11 will pay homage to just that.
This year’s theme is “Honoring Kamehameha and Kukulu Kahua e Malama Mai Kakou ka Aina (Caretakers of the land) in 2019.”
It’s centered on the aina (land) and those who care for her. It is the parade committee’s hope to highlight a local organization that volunteers their time to eradicate invasive species from the forests they hunt in.
Protocols held each year at the Kamehameha statue in Kapaau begin before sunrise. During this time many halau present their offering of chanting and hula to the king. Lei will be received at 7 a.m., with the lei draping ceremony starting at 8 a.m. Anyone can contribute floral or natural lei, with a maximum length of 20 feet. A small tent will be located near the statue to receive lei.
Akoni Pule Highway will be closed at 9 a.m. when the traditional pa’u/floral parade begins in Hawi. Island units and floats will travel down Akoni Pule Highway to Kapaau, where they will pay their respect at the statue, and end at Kamehameha Park.
The hoolaulea (celebration) times are from 11 a.m. till 4 p.m. Food, music, crafts, educational and cultural displays, and hands-on activities will be offered.
Every year invitation letters go out to cultural organizations requesting their presence at the different sites in hopes of providing a day to remember.
“We’re always looking for volunteers to help with all areas of the event,” said ‘Ekela Kahuanui, Kamehameha Day Committee members.
Organizing of the event began in September.
Leading the volunteer committee currently responsible for this annual celebration honoring Kohala’s No. 1 son is community member Kau’i Nakamura. The local kumu hula heads a group of like-minded, hard working volunteers dedicated to Hawaiian culture and the Kohala community.
This year the event is supported by Hawaii Tourism Authority through the Community Enrichment Program and Feed Hawaii, dba Kohala Village HUB.
Info or to volunteer: Kahuanui at firstname.lastname@example.org