Maui Arts & Entertainment

New curator selected for sacred Royal Mausoleum State Monument

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Doni Leināʻala Hanuna Pahukoa Chong, the 18th curator of the Royal Mausoleum State Monument at Mauna ‘Ala on O‘ahu. PC: DLNR

The Royal Mausoleum State Monument, the final resting place for the ruling monarchs of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, is considered one of the most culturally significant wahi pana in the state. The selection of its 18th curator followed an intensive process.

Selection of the unique state employee considered significant historical, cultural, and practical duties of the curator. An interview panel conducted a selection process that included two rounds of interviews with selected applicants. After all interviews were completed, the selection committee went to Mauna ‘Ala (the place name of the Royal Mausoleum) and walked the grounds, seeking guidance prior to making its decision.

On Monday, the Department of Land and Natural Resources formally announced the appointment of Doni Leināʻala Hanuna Pahukoa Chong as the new curator of the Royal Mausoleum State Monument at Mauna ‘Ala on O‘ahu. Chong now becomes the 18th curator of the Royal Mausoleum.


“It was Doni’s balance of experiences, perspectives, and cultural connections to Mauna ‘Ala, as well as her keen understanding of the unique and varied role of the curator position that set her apart,” said DLNR Chair Dawn Chang in a statement. “Doni radiated genuine humility and gratitude for the opportunity to serve and care for the Ali‘i, and she visited Mauna ‘Ala to pule with her ‘ohana before accepting the position.”

Established in 1865, the Royal Mausoleum contains the iwi kūpuna (ancestral bones) of the Kamehameha and the Kalākaua Dynasties, their families, and close advisors.

“Ensuring the sanctity of Mauna ‘Ala is paramount through honoring and conducting protocols, interacting with visitors, civic clubs and organizations that come to honor the iwi kūpuna as Kahu” said the DLNR in a statement. “Equally important, are caretaker responsibilities including maintenance of the grounds and landscape, managing the issuance of special use permits and keeping reports on repair needs and patronage numbers.”


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