Maui Arts & Entertainment

Kamehameha Day 2017 Celebrations Continue Throughout the Week

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Sunday, June 11 marked the birthday of Paiʻea, also known as King Kamehameha the Great, who is credited with unifying the Hawaiian islands under one rule.

The Royal Order of Kamehameha I – Kahekili Chapter IV on Maui commemorated his life in a procession in Kahului yesterday morning.  Today, the state observes the day as a holiday.

A separate, celebratory, Pa’u Parade and Ho’olaulea honoring the Kamehameha line will take place this coming weekend in West Maui. The 2017 Grand Parade Marshal is the Kaina ‘ohana of Lahaina. The parade on Front Street begins at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday; and the ho’olaulea runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at Keawaiki at the Lahaina Banyan Tree Park.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced H. Con. Res. 83 in 2014 to authorize the use of Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitors Center, which houses a statue of King Kamehameha I, for the event.

The 2017 King Kamehameha Lei Draping Ceremony in Emancipation Hall was held on Sunday to honor King Kamehameha’s legacy of uniting the islands and establishing the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi in 1810. The 48th Annual Lei Draping Ceremony, hosted by the Hawaiʻi State Society, is held each June at the US Capitol to coincide with King Kamehameha Day celebrations taking place throughout Hawaiʻi.


Hundreds of people attended, including Kauaʻi Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Hawaiʻi State Senate President Ron Kouchi, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Vice-Chair Dan Ahuna, and other state and local elected officials, and included performances by hula hālau from Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

In her remarks, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “King Kamehameha’s legacy is one of unity and servant leadership. He brought people together in the face of great division, uniting the islands of Hawaiʻi for the first time. King Kamehameha was a leader ahead of his time who understood that true unity, in the end, could not be achieved at the tips of spears or by the muzzles of guns, but through dialogue, mutual respect, and working to understand common goals between people.”

She continued saying, “What we learn from leaders like King Kamehameha is that we are at our best when we confront challenges together—when we set aside differences and unite. King Kamehameha was able to unify the islands of Hawaiʻi, not by creating a system that benefited a few, but by empowering many. These values still need to be protected and upheld today so that those who work hard have opportunities to succeed; that education and health care are not just for the privileged; that we serve as caretakers of our land and water for future generations; and that we treat others with aloha, love, and respect.”


Senator Hirono also joined members of the Hawaiʻi community in honoring King Kamehameha at the event. This year’s theme was “I Mua! E Na Pokiʻi, a inu i ka wai ‘awa‘awa,” or “Forward my young brothers (and sisters) and drink of the bitter waters (of battle), there is no turning back (until victory is secured).”

Hirono provided remarks saying, “We have a proud, proud history of, in Hawaiʻi, people coming together and fighting for each other, fighting together. So I just want to say to all of you who are here today, as we are gathering in solidarity remembering the legacy and leadership of King Kamehameha having united our islands that we must go forward united. Because there are many people in our country who are drinking the bitter waters. There are battles ahead. And we can never turn back.”

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