KAILUA VILLAGE — Beloved Hawaiian vocalist and songwriter Amy Hanaiali‘i will grace the stage this weekend at Hulihee Palace.
The concert featuring the five-time Grammy nominee and winner of 18 Na Hoku Hanohano awards will take place Saturday on the royal palace grounds fronting Kailua Bay. Joining Hanaiali‘i will be guest artist John Cruz, Halau Na Kipu’upu’u as well as other local musicians.
“This is a benefit for the preservation and maintenance of Hulihee Palace,” said Kanoelehua Renaud, executive director of the Daughters of Hawaii, caretakers for the palace, the birth site of Kamehameha III at Keauhou Bay, and Queen Emma’s Summer Palace on Oahu. “We want to invite everyone to come and experience how special this place is, learn a little bit about what it means for us in terms of history and the monarchy, and really just enjoy the time.”
Proceeds will go toward the preservation and maintenance of the 181-year-old royal palace, one of just three found in the United States that are all located in Hawaii.
Constructed in 1838 by Gov. John Adams Kuakini, Hulihee Palace was the Kona residence of Princess Ruth before Kind David Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani revamped it for use as a summer palace.
“Hulihee Palace is important because it preserves a glimpse in time that isn’t here anymore. It is worthy of preservation because it holds the mana of our Ali’i, Royals,” said Hanaiali‘i, who’s performed several benefit concerts at the palace, including in 2015 for the “Pomp &Circumstance Ball.” “It’s a timeless expression of our culture.”
The concert, also a release party for Hanaiali‘i’s 15th album and one of three being held on Hawaii Island with a show tonight in Hilo and a performance Sunday in Waimea, “Kalawai‘anui,” will take place from 4 to 9 p.m. with heavy pupus offered to attendees. Libations will be available for purchase. General admission tickets are $35.
VIP cabanas will be available for $350, which includes entry for five and access to a pre-show meet-and-greet with a champagne toast. VIP tickets also include drink service and a gift bag from Dezigns by Kamohoalii and other sponsors.
There’s no dress code, “but we do ask everybody to remember where they are. This is a palace, the home of our alii,” Renaud said.
The first show is 6-10 p.m. tonight at the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo. The final show is Sunday from 12-4 p.m. at Puukapu Hawaiian Homes in Waimea. Tickets for the Hilo and Waimea shows are $35-$85.
Tickets for all three shows, as well as details, are available online at https://www.eventbrite.com/o/amy-hanaialii-27822458385.
The Daughters of Hawaii purchased the palace in 1925, after blocking attempts by private companies to purchase the site after it went up for sale in 1914. The nonprofit complete the first restoration in 1927, followed by subsequent restorations in 1976 and 2007 following the October 2006 earthquakes.
Monies raised from Saturday’s festivities will go toward the nonprofit’s efforts to maintain and preserve the palace and its collection, as well as helping the state fund another multi-million restoration in the coming years. The palace is administered by the Division of State Parks, but is managed by the Daughters of Hawaii under a long-term lease.
Among the items needing preservation are a cape said to belong to Prince Kuhio and kapa believed owned by Kamehameha V that are impacted by the destructive elements of time and the salty sea air that goes along with being on the waterfront.
“These pieces definitely need to be preserved and cared for continuously,” said Sunshine Chip, who coordinates docents and events for the palace. “Our kapa needs its own cabinet, really.”
Maintenance work includes hiring a professional crew to provide some TLC for the Great Banyan on the palace grounds that overhangs Alii Drive.
That tree, which many people simply walk under, pose for a photo with or climb on against the rules, was actually planted at the palace by Kapiolani and Kalakaua from a cutting taken from the Great Banyan at Iolani Palace, which was gifted to the couple by Indian royalty, according to Anita Okimoto, palace office manager. A second cutting was planted near Kaahumanu Place, the current site of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.
“It needs a heavy trimming. It’s been a long time,” said Renaud.
Though a professional crew will be needed for that, there’s always opportunity for volunteer work at the palace to help the Daughters of Hawaii continue its mission. Examples include weeding the grounds or baking bread to be sold by the palace to bringing a group in like the Kai Opua Canoe Club did earlier this year to restore Kaope Pond.
“Getting the community involved is really critical to our success,” said Renaud. “Having them participate on any level, whether its physically showing up or a monetary donation, all of that contributes toward the preservation of the palace and the collection therein.”
Daughters of Hawaii and Calabash Cousins are also looking for new members, said Renaud. To become a Daughter, a woman must be a direct descendant from a person who lived in Hawaii prior to 1880, while membership with the Calabash Cousins is open to all.
“New membership for us is the key but the support of the community is very important,” she said.
Upcoming events benefiting Hulihee Palace are Holiday at Hulihee on Dec. 14 and Christmas Night at Hulihee on Dec. 21.
To volunteer, email Hulihee@daughtersofhawaii.org or call the palace at 329-1877. For more information on membership and the organization, or how to contribute monetarily, visit www.daughtersofhawaii.org.