Kokua from near and far ensure a lei draping ceremony fit for a king

Kokua from near and far ensure a lei draping ceremony fit for a king
Volunteers gather to make 40-foot lei for the King Kamehameha statue. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Earlier this week, the city put out an urgent call: They needed plumeria ― and lots of them ― to create long strands of lei for the King Kamehameha statue.

Dozens answered the call to ensure the tradition for King Kamehameha Day would go off without a hitch, sending boxes of plumeria from as far as Maui and Molokai.

“I’m telling you, after Merrie Monarch, graduations, I mean there’s a lot happening,” Misty Kelai, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts.

“But, somehow, we must always stop and think of our alii nui, Kamehameha I, we owe him a lot.”

And at the Mission Memorial Building on Thursday, dozens gathered to string plumeria into 40-foot lei for the lei draping ceremony of the King Kamehameha I statue on Friday.

Kumu hula Ainsley K. Halemanu chose to make a multi-colored plumeria lei to represent the diverse and unique communities of the islands.

“We’re gonna incorporate this with everybody, as a symbol that we are a united state, and we’ve always have been in the spirit of aloha," he said. "We want to portray that in the beautiful lei we made today, everybody has put their effort and love into it, and to honor Kamehameha.”

The 40-foot vibrant lei will be presented to the statue of King Kamehameha I on Friday at 3 p.m. in front of Aliiolani Hale.

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