The Kamehameha Festival (Festival) is part of the Kamehameha Day celebration that was first established in 1871 as a national holiday of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. Kamehameha Day honors the memory of Kamehameha who united the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 to became Hawai‘i’s first King. The Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Māmalahoa, has been involved in the presentation of the Kamehameha Day Celebration in Hilo, Hawai‘i since 1908. In more modern times Māmalahoa has presented the Kamehameha Day celebration on Moku Ola (Island of Life) in Hilo Bay since 1985. In 2008 Māmalahoa revitalized Hilo’s Kamehameha Day celebration with an expanded and more culturally significant event called the Kamehameha Festival (Festival).
Today the Festival continues to honor Kamehameha and acts to protect, preserve, and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture by sharing traditional Hawaiian dance, music, chant, practices, arts, and crafts with thousands of island residents and visitors from around the world. The Kamehameha Festival is held every year on Kamehameha Day (June 11) in Hilo, Hawai‘i on Moku Ola (Island of Life). The Festival begins at 10:00 am and ends at 4:00 pm, is free and open to the public, and remains an alcohol, smoke, and drug free event. Website at KamehamehaFestival.org.
MĀLAMA MAUNA KEA
For scientist and astronomers the summit of Mauna Kea is recognized as the world’s premier location to observe the universe. However, for Hawaiians, the summit is recognized and respected as an extremely sacred place. For Hawaiians, it is here that Wakea, the sky father, and Papa, the earth mother, gave birth to the Hawaiian Islands. Early Polynesians considered their highest points of land as the most sacred; and Mauna Kea being the highest mountain in Polynesia, was considered the most sacred place of all. The difference between these two perspectives is the basis of much controversy and contention regarding the use and development of Mauna Kea.
Due to the sacred nature of Mauna Keaʻs summit and the continuing threat of additional astronomy development and military build-up, the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Māmalahoa maintains a standing committee to monitor Mauna Kea. The committee collaborates with environmentalist, Hawaiian activist, individuals, and other groups dedicated to the protection, preservation, and perpetuation of the natural and cultural resources of Mauna Kea.
“We, by our protocols, must protect the iwi (bones) of our ancestors and all that is sacred to our kingdom. The Royal Order of Kamehameha is prepared to protect and defend the integrity and honor of Mauna Kea and the Native Hawaiian people . We will continue to be involved in working with the people of Hawai`i towards lasting protection and oversight of Mauna Kea that the people can be proud of.”
Ali‘i ‘Ai Moku
Royal Order of Kamehameha I
For a visual history of some of Māmalahoa’s activities on Mauna Kea, please visit the web site of our friend Tom Whitney.
For information on the current status of projects and plans that impact Mauna Kea, please visit KAHEA.
A comprehensive report regarding Mauna Kea and its cultural, religious, and environmental significance, was prepared by Māmalahoa and Mauna Kea Anaina Hou and is available here.
Ha‘a Koa Defined: Ha‘a is the Hawaiian word referring to the ancient (pre-hula) “bent-knee dance” that was performed by kāne (men), while koa is the Hawaiian word for “warrior.” The term Ha‘a Koa translates to Warrior Dance or Dance of the Warrior. The Ha‘a Koa is a kāne (masculine) protocol that is clearly and uniquely Hawaiian; Hawaiian in language, movement, ‘ike (thinking), and mana (spiritual power). The Ha‘a Koa is not a particular dance, but refers to a type or category of dance that falls within an established criteria. As such, a particular Ha‘a Koa may be a modern composition or consist of an ancient ha‘a that may be hundreds of years old.
The Ha‘a Koa is rooted in traditional Hawaiian practices including the lua (martial art), hula (dance), and oli (chant), and may include the use of musical instruments such as the ipu and pahu (percussion instruments) as well as mea kaua (war implements). In essence, the Ha‘a Koa celebrates the spirit of the ancient Koa and the virtues of Aloha (love & compassion), Koa (valiant & courage), Lōkahi (unity & peace), Kupa‘a (firm & loyal), and Mana (power & authority).
Benefits of the Ha‘a Koa
Unify and Empower:
The Ha‘a Koa may be used to unify and empower a hui (group) for a challenge at hand, whether it is overcoming addiction or preparing for a difficult journey.
The Ha‘a Koa may be used as a cultural rallying cry for Kanaka ‘Ōiwi (aboriginal peoples of Hawai‘i) Native rights and benefits are consistently challenged and continue to be at risk. The Ha‘a Koa can be used to focus attention on issues affecting Hawaiian’s today. For example, doing a Ha‘a Koa at the Hawai‘i State Capitol or on top of Mauna Kea.
Conduit to Mana:
Mana (spiritual power) is the driving force of the Kanaka ‘Ōiwi. The Ha‘a Koa may be used to fill one’s body with mana drawn from the honua (earth). Spectators of this process may also experience mana.
Means to Reconnect:
The Ha‘a Koa is both a remembrance of who Kanaka ‘Ōiwi were and an awakening of what they may become. It takes them back, if only for a moment, and reconnects them to their warrior ancestors and inspires them to press forward as modern day warriors for that which is pono.
New Hawaiian Icon:
The Ha‘a Koa celebrates a dimension of the Hawaiian culture that has been absent for too long, the strong Hawaiian male. Hawai‘i and Kanaka ‘Ōiwi are often associated with and recognized for Hula Dancers, Aloha Shirts, Pineapples, and Flower Leis, but Hawai‘i was also the home of a proud warrior society. The Ha‘a Koa can be that symbol and icon of Hawai‘i’s warrior heritage.
Sign of Respect and Honor:
The Ha‘a Koa is a symbol of the Kanaka ‘Ōiwi warrior heritage as well as the warrior spirit Kanaka ‘Ōiwi strive to emulate today. To share this aspect of the Hawaiian culture with a loved one, individual, or guest can be demonstration of great respect and honor.
A shared Ha‘a Koa that celebrates a team’s skills and strengths does not disrespect the opposition nor is it designed to do so. However, when delivered with power, purpose, and unity, the Ha‘a Koa may very well challenge, dishearten, and intimidate a foe or opposition.
The Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Māmalahoa endorses the learning and use of the Ha‘a Koa and periodically conducts Ha‘a Koa workshops to teach and perpetuate this aspect of the culture.
Authorized by the 35th Article of the 1864 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, King Kamehameha V established the Order of Kamehameha I by Royal Decree on April 11, 1865 at the ‘Iolani Palace. The Royal Decree was made with the endorsement of the King’s Privy Council of State and establishes the Order’s mission and authorizes the Order to carry out its kuleana, in perpetuity, as an institution of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i.
The Mission of the Order, as stated in the Royal Decree, is to cultivate and develop among our People the feelings of honor and loyalty to our Kingdom, and its institutions. To confer honorary distinctions upon such of our People and foreigners as have rendered or may hereafter render to our Kingdom and People important services.
In continuance of the Order’s mission to honor those who provide important services to our Kingdom and People, Māmalahoa established the Māmalahoa Award in 2010. This prestigious award is presented each year on Kamehameha Day (June 11) to an exemplary kāne for dedicated work and service in protecting, preserving and perpetuating the Hawaiian culture, Kingdom, and Sacred Places. In 2017 this honor was extended to wāhine as well.
Awardees here include:
Paul Kevin Kea Neves – 2010
Robert K. Lindsey Jr. – 2011
Patrick L. Kahawaiola‘a – 2012
Chadd ‘Onohi Paishon – 2013
No Presentations – 2014 – 2015
Jerry Konanui (Recognized) – 2016
Jerry Konanui (Awarded) – 2017
Lilian Ku‘ualoha Keli‘ipio – 2017
Clarence Kukauakahi Ching – 2018
Dr. Pualani Kanakaole Kanahele – 2018
ALOHA ʻĀINA PARTY
The genesis of the Aloha ʻĀina Party began within the Royal Order of Kamehameha, Heiau O Māmalahoa, moku o Hilo, Puna, Hamakua, and Ka‘u (Order).
Beginning in 2009, the Order discussed the need for a political party that would address the concerns of Kānaka ‘Oiwi, especially in the area of sovereignty. By 2015 the political party concept evolved from a Kānaka ‘Oiwi issue driven party to a viable third party option for all of Hawai’i. Due in part to the Mauna Kea Crises of 2014- 2015, and the subsequent heightened consciousness, mobilization, activism, and empowerment of Kānaka ‘Oiwi. It was decided that this was the time to launch the political party.
It was decided that the new political party would be called the Aloha ʻĀina Party to honor Hui Kālaiʻāina and Hui Aloha ʻĀina (both men and women) which fought against the annexation of Hawaiʻi to the U.S. The name was also chosen to honor all of the kūpuna (nearly 40,000) who signed the Anti-Annexation Petition (aka Kūʻē Petition) of 1897.
Although initially endorsed and funded by the Order, it was decided that the Aloha ʻĀina Party would be established and move forward separate and distinct from the Order. As such the establishment of the Aloha ʻĀina Party was taken up by individual members of the Order, but continues to be supported by Māmalahoa today.