Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole COURTESY PHOTO
Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana‘ole Piiikoi was born March 26, 1871, with a long ali’i lineage rooted on Kauai and Hawaii Island. When his mother died in 1884, he and his two brothers were hanai’d by their aunt Queen Kapi’olani, thus becoming royal princes.
As he grew up, Prince Kuhio became known as an excellent golfer, football player, and waterman. He was also an occasional paniolo, according to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands website, which says, “There was nothing he enjoyed more keenly than going with the cowboys after wild cattle and horses on the rugged slopes of Mauna Kea, or spearing wild boars from the back of a horse.”
After the 1893 overthrow of Hawaiian monarchy, and a failed attempt at revolution, Prince Kuhio was imprisoned for a year, during which time he met and became engaged to Kapi’olani. In 1902, he was persuaded to run for delegate to the U.S. Congress, the office he won and served for 10 consecutive terms.
Prince Kuhio is probably best known for founding the Hawaiian Civic Club and his advocacy for the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, which established the foundation for the Department of Hawaiian Homes we know today. Waimea’s Kuhio Village, and Kuhio Hale (Hawaiian Homes Hall) are named in his honor.
In celebration of Kuhio Day, the Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders Association (WHHA) will host a day-long cultural event on Tuesday, March 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kuhio Hale, as a benefit for WHHA’s Scholarship Fund. Hands-on Hawaiian cultural workshops are available for only $10 per person including materials. Tootsie Berdon-Weller will teach the wili and haku styles of lei-making; Lili’uokalani Roth instructs the class on coconut weaving; and Halau Ki Pu’upu’u members will share their skills at lauhala weaving and kapa-pounding.
In addition to the workshops, WHHA will present educational displays about Prince Kuhio, Hawaiian music and hula, and ‘ono breakfast and lunch plates for sale.
“I never learned any Hawaiian history in school,” said Berdon-Weller. “All my Hawaiian I learned from my grandfather and from hula.” She encourages young and old to come and participate in the Kuhio Day events on March 26. Admission is free and prizes will be awarded for the best-dressed attendee in ali’i finery.
For more information on the Prince Kuhio Day event, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on March 26, at Kuhio Hale in Waimea, contact Berdon-Weller at 885-4045.