Hawaiian language students observe Queen Liliʻuokalani’s birthday

Students of Ke Kula Kaiapuni 'o Kualapu'u sing about Ka Māmakakaua Hanohano, “the honorable band of warriors,” that remained loyal to Hawaiian royalty.

ʻO Hina i ka Malama News Release

A three-person conch shell ensemble harmoniously signaled the beginning of Ka Lā Hānau o Liliʻuokalani, the annual observance of Queen Liliʻuokalani’s birthday, Sept. 2, 1838, for Molokai’s Hawaiian Language Immersion students from grades pre-K to 12.

Queen Liliʻuokalani

This year’s celebration was held Wednesday at the Lanikeha Center in Hoʻolehua with almost 150 of Molokai’s Hawaiian-speaking student population in attendance along with kūpuna and family members.

This year’s theme, Ka Māmakakaua Hanohano — “the honorable band of warriors” — was chosen to highlight the unwavering loyalty that the Hawaiian monarchs enjoyed from their subjects long after the kingdom’s demise in 1893. The refrain of “kūʻē, kūʻē, kūʻe” (revolt, rebel, go against) was heard as children lifted their voices in song in honor of Robert W. Wilcox, a Hawaiian subject born in Honuaʻula, Maui and trained as a lieutenant in Italy in the 19th Century. Wilcox supported Liliʻuokalani’s unsuccessful attempts to appeal to the United States to restore Hawaiian sovereignty.

Kapono Acasio performs at Wednesdays ceremony. ʻO Hina i ka Malama instructor Manuwai Peters is behind him.

Started in Sept. 11, 2002, this year marked the 10th anniversary of the observation spearheaded by ʻO Hina i ka Malama, the 7-12 grade Hawaiian Language Immersion Program at Molokai High School and Molokai Middle School. In collaboration with QLCC staff and Kualapuʻu teachers, this co-curricular event brings together the island’s Hawaiian speaking students, elders and community to hoʻokupu to the Queen and, in particular, celebrate her musical legacy and her profound commitment to the social welfare for orphaned and destitute Hawaiian children. Since 2004, the Molokai unit of the Queen Liliʻuokalani Children’s Center has co-sponsored the event by providing transportation for students and a lunch reception.

The hoʻokupu took the form of lei, hula, speeches, chants, songs, and even a “laina mōʻaukala,” or historical timeline, of the Queenʻs life. As a finale, the students performed a rousing rendition of Ka Māmakakaua composed by Palani Vaughan.

In attendance at the event were the principals of Molokai Middle School and Molokai High School, Mr. Gary Davidson and Mr. Stan Haʻo, and Dr. Claire S. Asam, Trustee for the Queen Liliuokalani Trust. The program concluded with a blessing in Hawaiian by Kualapuʻu teacher Lokelani Han of Hoʻolehua.


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