Friday, March 25, 2011

Saturday March 26th in Prince Kuhio Day

Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole Pi'ikoi was born on March 26, 1871.  He was prince of the House of Kalakaua, heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawai'i, and a ten-term elected delegate to the United States Congress.  He is often referred to as Ke Ali'i Makaainana, or Prince of the People, because of his dedication to and defense of the Hawaiian people.  Prince Kuhio Day was established by Hawaiian territorial Legislature resolution in 1949 and is celebrated to this day.

Born on the island of Kaua'i, Kuhio was orphaned by age 13 then adopted by Queen Kapi'olani, wife of King David Kalakaua, making him a royal prince. He was educated at the Royal School and Punahou School in Honolulu, St. Matthew's Military Academy in California, and the Royal Agriculture College in England before getting his business degree.  His eternal smile and sparkling eyes earned him the nickname Prince Cupid, which followed him throughout his life.

Kuhio was 22 when the Kingdom of Hawai'i was overthrown and a provisional government was put in place.  Two years later, in 1895, he rebelled against the Republic of Hawaii, but was captured and spent a year in prison.  Following his incarceration, he married and spent the next four years traveling in Europe and Africa, where he fought for the British Army in the Second Boer War.

In 1898, while Kuhio was abroad, Hawaii was annexed by the United States and the Territory of Hawaii was born.  Upon his return, Kuhio joined the radically-run Home Rule Party of Hawaii, fighting for Hawaiian Independence and the rights of native Hawaiians.  Ever-pragmatic, he soon switched to the Republican party with the goal of working within the system to support and strengthen the Hawaiian people.  In 1903, Kuhio was elected to the U.S. Congress, and over the next 19 years as a delegate he made great strides for the people of Hawaii.

Kuhio is perhaps best known for authoring and introducing the first Hawaiian Statehood Bill and the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921, which set aside 200,000 acres of land for Hawaiian homesteaders. He created the Hawaiian County local government system which operates to this day, and founded the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. He restored the Royal Order of Kamehameha I and founded the Hawaii Civic Club. As a ten-term delegate, he sat on House Committees on Agriculture, Coinage, Weights and Measures, Military Affairs, and Territories, as well as the Hawaiian Homes Commission and Chiefs of Hawaii. His efforts saw $27 million Congressional appropriation to improve navy yards in Oahu. 

You can celebrate Prince Kuhio Day this Saturday at Day at Hulihe'e from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The Daughters of Hawai'i and Calabash Cousins - caretakers of the Palace - have organized their annual fund-raiser despite tsunami damage.  There will be arts and crafts booths, a bake sale, hula by a local halau, delicious food and prize drawings for artwork made by local artists.  If you're in the neighborhood celebrating Prince Kuhio Day or your romantic Hawaiian vacation, be sure to stop by the Holualoa Inn and tour our new orchard, and possibly enjoy some fresh fruit right off the tree.

A hui hou,

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