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Ka ʻIu O Hoku combines two plays written by Waipa--"Almost a King" and "Kaʻiulani"--connecting their common fates and shared history.

Ka  'Iu O Hoku combines two plays for Hō'ike

Feb. 28, 2017

Contributed by Shaundor Chillingworth

Kamehameha Schools delivers world-class, Hawaiian culture-based education.  Campus traditions like Hōʻike offer students an opportunity to connect to and showcase their culture through the stories of their kūpuna told through a contemporary lens. Participation in events like Hōʻike helps cultivate a strong Native Hawaiian identity that instills confidence and resiliency in our learners.

Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi campus will present the school’s 14th annual Hōʻike on March 16 and 17 at Koaiʻa Gymnasium.

For this year’s production, KS Hawaiʻi will present Ka ʻIu O Hoku, a historical fiction work based on two plays by the late Clarence Waipa, a retired music teacher from St. Joseph School and former choir director of Hilo Seventh-day Adventist Church, First United Protestant Church, Kamehameha Schools Alumni Chorus of Hilo and Sing Out Hilo.

Ka ʻIu O Hoku involves two 19th century aliʻi related not only through blood, but through the common fate of being both heirs to throne of the Hawaiian Kingdom but never able to reign.

Act One is taken from Waipa’s play "Almost a King", and examines the life of William Pitt Leleiohoku II, brother to Kalākaua and Liliʻuokalani, during his early twenties. We see his romantic side through song and hula as he courts a young Margaret Rice, a non-Hawaiian.  We meet his hānai mother, Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani, and his royal sister, Lydia (later known as Liliʻuokalani) as both try to offer him advice on becoming a King and navigating his politically challenging romance.  But Leleiohoku’s joie de vivre and optimistic attitude will not be dampened by royal convention. 

Act Two, taken from Waipa’s play "Kaʻiulani",  covers the life of the princess as seen through the eyes of close friend and confidant Robert Louis Stevenson.  We see the queen-to-be from her beginnings as a precocious child to a young woman who confronts the American government to restore her kingdom.

The combined plays have been given the title Ka ʻIu O Hoku, by junior Kuʻuhiapo Jeong.  In English it is roughly translated “the highest of the star/ the sky”.   Both Kaʻiulani and Leleiōhoku were viewed as the highest and most important people at that time (when the Hawaiian Kingdom was at the brink of annexation) as heirs to the throne.  The title also cleverly combines their two names.

Ka ʻIu O Hoku will celebrate the lives of both of these aliʻi through mele and hula, performed in the tradition of Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi Hōʻike, as an all-school production involving the entire student body. Music for both plays include music of the time period by and written for the aliʻi portrayed.

“These plays were first performed in the 1980s and Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi High School is honored to bring to the stage the light of our aliʻi at its apex – Ka ‘Iu o Hoku,” writes Dr. Lehua Veincent, KS Hawaiʻi high school poʻo kumu.

“We look forward to seeing you at Hō‘ike 2017!”

Doors for the two evening performances will open at 5 p.m. and the production starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale now, $15 for floor seats (sold out) and $10 for bleacher seats. Tickets are on-sale now at through March 10 or can be purchased in-person from the High School Administration Office from 3 to 4 p.m. from March 6-10 and March 13-15. Tickets will also be available at the door on the night of the performance. 

Should you require special seating for handicapped access, please contact Mrs. Mary Lynn Earle, Student Activities Assistant, at 982-0734.

For more information on the production, visit the Hōʻike A Haʻi website.

SP2020 is a five-year strategic plan that will guide Kamehameha Schools from 2015 to 2020. The plan marks a starting point toward KS’ Vision 2040, which envisions success for all Native Hawaiian learners.

Activities like these support Goal 1 and Goal 3 of SP2020 which call for KS to deliver world-class, culture-based education and to cultivate Native Hawaiian identity within its learners. It also supports Action 1 of Kamehameha’s Ten Actions for fiscal year 2016-17, advancing as a world-class KS school system.

Ticket Information

Tickets for the KS Hawaiʻi Hōʻike are on-sale now.

Purchase online at:

Or buy in-person
Students, staff and faculty can purchase from the high school student activities office during lunch hours.

Public tickets available starting March 6 at the high school administration office from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, call 982-0734.

Both plays were written by Clarence Waipa, a retired music teacher from St. Joseph School and former choir director of Hilo Seventh-day Adventist Church, First United Protestant Church, Kamehameha Schools Alumni Chorus of Hilo and Sing Out Hilo.

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