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Happy birthday Prince Kuhio!

PO‘IPU — Kimo Perry, of the Royal Order of Kamehameha, said the protocol honoring the birth of Prince Jonah Kuhio was the first one to be held with no restrictions since 2019, when the COVID-19 pandemic governed how the ceremony would be held.

Prince Kuhio would be celebrating his 152nd birthday on Sunday, March 26, and the protocol of honoring Kuhio returned to the Prince Kuhio Park, a site close to the actual birthplace of Kuhio on Saturday with the traditional offering of lei ho‘okupu by dignitaries and the different Hawaiian organizations. Those organizations included the Royal Order of Kamehameha and Ka Wahine Hui O Kamehameha, the park’s caretaker, and the paina featuring hekka, following.

Kuhio was the grandson of King Kaumuali‘i, the last king of Kaua‘i. He was educated at Royal and Punahou schools, where he excelled at football and track, states a biography created by the Royal Order of Kamehameha.

It is reported that he was the last ali‘i trained in the higher art of Hawiian fighting called lua. Kuhio was a master of its principles.

According to Brudda Kelly, who served as emcee, and Luke Evslin, appointed to replace former Rep. James Tokioka, Kuhio was the first to canoe in California by lashing two surfboards together and using redwood when he left the islands to expand his education at St. Matthew’s College in San Mateo, California.

Evslin, a coach with the Island School outrigger canoe paddling, said Kuhio introduced wa‘a he‘e, or canoe racing, one of the first racing canoes being housed at Bishop Museum.

For those celebrating and observing National Agriculture Week, and Day, Kuhio attended the Royal Agricultural College in England. It was his intention, when creating the Hawaiian Homes Commission, that Kanaka Maoli be returned to the land and encouraged to be self-sufficient farmers, ranchers, and homesteaders on leased parcels of reserved land.

This was his dream to save the declining Kanaka Maoli from extinction.

Kuhio also created the county government that exists with elected officials. Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami and Kaua‘i County Council were among the dignitaries paying tribute to Prince Kuhio along with a delegation from The Kukui‘ula Development Co., which was announced as a successor to A&B Hawai‘i that originally deeded the land where Prince Kuhio Park sits to the Royal Order of Kamehameha.

The Kukui‘ula Development Co., in more recent action, expanded the park area with the transfer of some 16 acres of land to the Royal Order of Kamehameha.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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