An extraordinary collection of rare royal flags from the Hawaiian Kingdom were proudly unfurled for public viewing recently at the Kaʻiwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center, as part of “Welo Haʻaheo.”
Jamie Fong, Kaʻiwakīloumoku manager coordinated and hosted the event along with the Hawai’i State Archives in celebration of Archives Month.
“It was so moving to see the very flags that were lowered during the illegal Overthrow in 1893, as well as the huge crown flag of Kalākaua which traveled with him in 1881 as the first monarch to circumnavigate the world,” Jamie Fong said.
A private morning ceremony began with pule by Kamehameha Schools Director of ‘Ike Hawaiʻi Cultural Development Keʻala Kwan, a welcoming oli by KS Cultural Consultant Manu Boyd and the group singing of the Hawaiʻi National Anthem, “Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī.”
KS Executive Cultural Officer Dr. Randie Fong offered opening remarks, and Adam Jansen, Hawai’i State Archives director described the history of the flags and the pain-staking process of restoration. The haumāna of the KS Kapālama Hawaiian Ensemble under the direction of kumu hula Kaleo Trinidad offered hula that recounted the pomp of King Kalākaua and lamented the darkest days in Hawaiian history.
The ceremony ended with the spirited singing of “Kaulana Nā Pua” as members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha and Māmakakaua stood proudly in their regalia.
“Today, we draw strength from these proud emblems of kanaka pride and patriotism” Randie Fong asserted. Dr. Ron Williams, president of the Hawaiian Historical Society and Dr. Doug Askman, history professor at Hawaiʻi Pacific University offered compelling presentations throughout the day.
“Welo Haʻaheo” is part of Kamehameha Schools’ Lāhui Rising Series which is dedicated to safe spaces for people of all ages to learn about matters and issues important to Native Hawaiians.