Participants, protestors prepare for Abercrombie's inauguration - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Participants, protestors prepare for Abercrombie's inauguration

Paula Finau Paula Finau
Sione Finau Sione Finau
Leon Siu Leon Siu

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - People taking part in Monday's inauguration for Hawaii's new governor, Neil Abercrombie, went through a dress rehearsal Sunday. A Maui teen, who saved his father's life earlier this year, is among those who will be playing a role in the ceremony.

A group of Hawaiians is also getting ready -- to protest the event.

With entertainment by Willie K, Robert Cazimero and the Hawaii Youth Opera, it promises to be a festive event. But some Hawaiians say staging the inauguration on the grounds of Iolani Palace is a slap in the face.

The chairs are in place and the stage is set. Those participating in the ceremony practiced their moves to make sure everything will go smoothly.

Sione Finau, a senior at Baldwin High, has been tapped to deliver the Pledge at Allegiance.

"He gotta try to talk louder and open his mouth," Paula Finau said while watching his son rehearse. "This is a big thing. He should be thankful and give them all he got."

Sione is an eagle scout, which is the highest rank that a boy scout can achieve. Earlier this year, he saved his father from drowning. The two were diving in the ocean for lobster and tako when dad had a seizure.

"I seen light, his flashlight at the bottom of the water, so I swam back to him," the teen said. "That's when I told him hold on to me. I told him flip over to lay on his back so he could float while I drag him out."

But for Sione, saving a life is one thing. Saying the Pledge of Allegiance in front of a large audience is another.

"I don't know, just scared, nervous," Sione Finau said.

Not everyone is thrilled about the big event. A group of Hawaiians plans to protest the use of the Iolani Palace grounds for the inauguration, saying it's offensive to those who believe Hawaii is still a sovereign nation.

"This is where our queen resided and was where she was deposed and dethroned from her seat, which actually caused the loss of our whole country to the United States," Leon Siu, Hawaiian Kingdom spokesperson, said. "So for the United States to have a governor being inaugurated here on the grounds would be an insult."

The Hawaiian activists will be wearing black t-shirts and carrying signs. They say their protest will be peaceful.

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