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This year's Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi campus video production for the 2018 Merrie Monarch festival is "Ka Hoʻoilina o Kaʻahumanu" which shares the significant moments in Queen Kaʻahumanu's life. The teacher-planned, student-led production incorporates in a new filming technique each year while connecting haumāna involved in the production to their culture through the use of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, moʻolelo and hula. Itʻs an exciting, dynamic, interdisciplinary learning opportunity giving students an opportunity to own and develop a production that will be shown during one of the most significant events on their moku.

Queen Ka'ahumanuʻs significant moments shared in KSH Merrie Monarch video

April 4, 2018

Contributed by Shaundor Chillingworth

Over the past seven years, Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi High School has produced a featured video for the Merrie Monarch festival. Each year, the production tries to blend a new film technique with Hawaiian culture creating a genre that is unique to KS Hawaiʻi.

Itʻs a student-led, teacher-planned, community-supported project that has matured to the point where students can have a lot of creative freedom in expressing the moʻolelo the project tries to convey.

This year’s production is entitled “Ka Hoʻoilina o Kaʻahumanu” and walks through significant moments in Queen Kaʻahumanuʻs life. The story takes us to a period in Hawaiian History where major social and political changes occurred. During this time, two historical events transpired that defined Queen Kaʻahumanuʻs life. The first, was her marriage to King Kamehameha. The second, the abolishment of the ‘aikapu (Hawaiian laws and spirituality) for the Christian faith.

For junior Jesse James Crivello, who served as director on the video, the story of how Kaʻahumanu was able to unite people through education, as well as religion, stood out for him on a personal level as a Hawaiian student that holds both education and religion dearly.

“Being involved in the Merrie Monarch Production this year has been a wonderful learning experience,” shared Crivello.

“I have been involved in the production for the past two years and got the opportunity to learn the ropes. This year, I was put in the director's position and got to facilitate the production. This was an amazing experience for me because I was able to do work with cameras, hula dancers and kumu, and do what I love for such an important and amazing event.”

The project itself helped to set the stage to learn more about Kaʻahumanu and her legacy. Understanding how she contributed to the literacy of our people and what her role was when it came to the politics of Kamehameha.

“Often times we learn our history from the identity and place of the mana kāne,” shared ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi kumu Kalehua Simeona. “And so we really wanted to focus this year through the lens of Kaʻahumanu. Eō e Kaʻahumanu!”

The video is one of the most viewed productions KS Hawaiʻi creates each year, reaching a statewide audience through the Merrie Monarch TV broadcast (which is currently scheduled to run during Wednesday nightʻs Hōʻike night broadcast).

But it’s not completed without enduring challenges. For this year’s production, students had to overcome the complications that arise with a beach location shoot, tackling outdoor elements and unstable surfaces. Crivello and his production team had to carefully place people in the right areas so they could carry out their assigned tasks.

“The weather and the environment where we had to dance was challenging because sometimes it would be cold but then get humid and it was a mess, and then we would have to go from hot sand to water to rock,” shared junior Kamahaʻo Kawelu, who was a dancer in this year’s video.

When people watch the production, students hope that the audience can see the hard work and effort put forth to tell this story.

“I hope that when people watch this they realize the hard work that went into this and the story our hula told,” said Kawelu. 

The video is now featured on the Merrie Monarch website homepage and will be aired on tv during Wednesday night’s broadcast.

The moʻolelo behind this yearʻs video looks at the significant moments in Queen Kaʻahumanu's life, including her marriage to King Kamehameha.

The official poster for the 2018 KS Hawaiʻi Merrie Monarch video "Ka Hoʻoilina o Kaʻahumanu".

The 2018 Merrie Monarch video cast and dancers celebrate to completion of another amazing video.

Each year, the KSH video incorporates hula, mele, oli and a new film technique.

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