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This year’s Kauikeaouli Festival invites kānaka to connect with ʻāina

Mar. 12, 2024

Celebrate the legacy of Kamehameha III at the 23rd annual Kauikeaouli Festival! From March 15-17, the birthday tribute will honor the progressive ali‘i at Keauhou Bay.

Kauikeaouli, known as Kamehameha III during his reign, is revered for establishing a public school system that integrated Hawaiian language and culture with Western education. The schools were so successful that by 1854, Hawai‘i was one of the most literate nations in the world. He coined the phrase “He aupuni palapala ko‘u – Mine is a kingdom of literacy,” encapsulating his commitment to the education and enlightenment of his people. Kamehameha Schools stewards 54 acres of ‘Ᾱina Pauahi – legacy lands from founder Ke Ali‘i Bernice Pauahi Bishop – surrounding Keauhou Bay, the sacred pana ʻāina where Kauikeaouli was born.

“This celebration is an opportunity for people to connect with ʻāina that was so precious to Ka Lani Kauikeaouli,” said Kilohana Hirano, Kamehameha Schools community strategist for Hawaiʻi Island. “We welcome kānaka back to these culturally significant spaces.”

This year’s event partners are Kalanihale Miloli‘i, a nonprofit group from South Kona focused on youth education, environmental stewardship and cultural preservation, and Ho‘āla Kealakekua Nui, an organization dedicated to preserving Kealakekua Bay for future generations through restoration, education and outreach.

The theme for this year’s tribute is He Kīhoʻihoʻi Kānāwai – A Modern Application of Restoring Our Natural Resources. A panel discussion about the work in Hawaiʻi Island communities to restore natural resources will be held on March 15 at 5 p.m. at the Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa.

The festivities continue March 16, starting at 9:30 a.m. with a craft fair and cultural workshops on lāʻau lapaʻau, oli, ʻulu recipes and coral gardening at the Outrigger Kona Resort. Register for any workshops at A free concert with mele and hula begins at 5 p.m. featuring Kaʻikena Scanlan and These Guys, Miloliʻi Hula ʻOhana & Serenaders, Chadd Paishon and Friends, Hālau Kaulana Nā Pua and a taiko performance by Kona Daifukuji Hongwanji.

On March 17, a special tribute by the Daughters of Hawaiʻi and Kamehameha Schools will take place at Keauhou Bay. A talk story session starts at 8 a.m. at SeaQuest with Shane Akoni Palacat-Nelsen, followed by a procession to Kauikeaouli’s birth site at 8:45 a.m. to offer hoʻokupu.

For more information on the festival and how to attend, visit To learn more about Kauikeaouli as well as wahi pana in the area near the celebration, check out this Waihona collection.

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