Kamehameha Schools Trustee Lance Wilhelm and CEO Jack Wong joined leaders in the Native Hawaiian community and other dignitaries at Washington Place today as Hawai‘i Gov. David Ige proclaimed 2018 “Ke Au Hawai‘i – The Year of the Hawaiian.”
Former Gov. John Waihe‘e – the first Native Hawaiian to hold the esteemed office – shared his heartfelt mana‘o at the event.
“Despite all of what has happened, despite the almost extinction of our people, we are thriving today, we are here today,” said Waihe‘e, surrounded by keiki from Pūnana Leo o Honolulu and Pūnana Leo o Mānoa. “We have a lot to celebrate.”
Entitled Wewehiokalā, named for Queen Lili‘uokalani, the proclamation event included mele and hula with performances by Pūnana Leo preschoolers and Grammy Award-winner Kalani Pe‘a, who gave a rousing rendition of “E Nā Kini.”
The proclamation came about after the passage of Senate Resolution 74 during the 2017 legislative session requesting that the governor issue a proclamation declaring this year “The Year of the Hawaiian.”
According to Gov. Ige, the proclamation is meant to lend an understanding to the value of Native Hawaiian cultural practices and recognize Native Hawaiian culture; traditions; and especially the perpetuation of Native Hawaiian language, restoration and revitalization.
Ige was a member of the State Legislature when one of the first Hawaiian language immersion schools in Waiau was established in his district.
The proclamation event came on the same day hundreds of haumāna, kumu, and family members from kula kaiapuni, charter schools and public schools gathered at the Hawai‘i State Capitol to celebrate “Ka Lā ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi,” a day to promote awareness of the value of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi in all uses and contexts.