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The KS Community Engagement and Resources staff pay tribute to King Kauikeaouli near his birthplace at Keaouhou Bay. They are: CE&R-Hawaiʻi Senior Director Alapaki Nahale-a, CE&R West Hawaiʻi Manager Lehua Kaulukukui, Program Manager Malani DeAguiar, and Director of Education Initiatives Jamee Miller.

Hawai'i island pays tribute to King Kauikeaouli

March 29, 2016

Contributed by Leanne Okamoto

Beach chairs, mats and sun hats decked the lawn at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay as Hawaiʻi island residents and visitors celebrated the life and legacy of King Kauikeaouli, Kamehameha III. The events marked the 16th annual tribute hosted by Kamehameha Schools.

The three-day tribute started with a ceremony hosted by the Daughters of Hawaiʻi at Kauikeaouli’s birth site at Keauhou Bay on March 17. The exact date of Kauikeaouli’s birth is unknown but some historians say that the monarch admired St. Patrick and chose to celebrate his birthday on St. Patrick’s Day.

The events culminated with ʻohana activities which included a free ʻaha mele (concert) and Hawaiian language and literacy games provided by ʻAha Pūnana Leo designed to initiate, provide for and nurture various Hawaiian language environments. 

“Kauikeaouli was ahead of his time,” said Alapaki Nahale-a, senior director of regional strategies for Hawaiʻi island.

“He knew that education and private land ownership would be key to the sovereignty and survival of his people.”

During his reign, Kauikeaouli established a school system that integrated Hawaiian language and culture into Western education. The schools were so successful that at the end of his 30-year reign in 1854, Hawai‘i was one of the most literate nations in the world. Kauikeaouli also created Hawai’i’s first constitution in 1840 and in response to a temporary takeover of the kingdom in 1843, created a system for private land ownership called the Mahele.

Today, as part of KS’ strategic plan – Kūhanauna, culturally integrated education is once again being cultivated in Keauhou and its neighboring ahupua‘a on lands owned by Kamehameha Schools.

See more photos of the ʻaha mele in the I Mua Newsroom photo gallery.

KS and the Daughters of Hawaiʻi host a tribute ceremony including oli and offering of hoʻokupu.

Hoʻike A Haʻi (performing arts) students from the KS Hawaiʻi campus performed selections from the original Hawaiian language opera "Haʻūpu" at the ʻaha mele (concert) on March 19.

ʻAha Pūnana Leo keiki prepare to go on stage at the ʻaha mele held at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa in Keauhou.

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