Fifth Annual Onipa‘a Celebration

Published: Sep. 1, 2011 at 1:42 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 1, 2011 at 1:44 PM HST
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Honolulu (HawaiiNewsNow) - The lawn of 'Iolani Palace will be alive with culture and history as the Hawai'i Pono'î Coalition presents the Fifth Annual Onipa'a Celebration on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011.

The event will open with entertainment at 10 a.m. and closes with a living history walking tour retracing four pivotal days in Hawaiian history.  At 4:30 p.m., chanters from around the state will share eight mele written during the queen's final days on the throne in 1893.

"Lili'uokalani was a champion of peace and social justice, and this is our way of sharing her story and our culture," said coalition member and event organizer Leimomi Khan.

The Sept. 4 observance will contain three key elements:

•  10 a.m. to 4 p.m.:  The day begins with entertainment by The Royal Hawaiian Band and the children and parents of Ka Waihona o Ka Naÿauao Public Charter School.  A church service honoring the queen begins at noon, followed performances from Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winners Ku'uipo Kumukahi, Jerry Santos and Olomana, and Hâlau I Ka Wçkiu.

In the adjacent Kanaÿina Buiding at 11:00 a.m. the play "Ka Le Maile Aliÿi – The Queen's Women" re-enacts a meeting in Hilo encouraging Hawaiian citizens to sign petitions against the annexation of Hawaiÿi to the United States.  At 1:00 p.m., musician-singer Walter Kawaiaeÿa will be sharing stories of the queen's mele.   Cultural demonstrations will take place all day long on the palace lawn, and there will be no admission to the ÿIolani Palace.

•    4:30 p.m.  A chanting presentation of mele written about Lili'uokalani her final days on the throne.

•     5:00, 5:20, 5:40 and 6:00 p.m.: Mai Poina (Don't Forget) living history walking tours. Costumed role-players will interpret the significant events and sites surrounding the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom through a dramatic narrative. After the tour, attendees are welcome to join in a discussion about this pivotal episode in the history of our islands led by distinguished Native Hawaiian Humanities Scholars. Space is limited and reservations are suggested.  Please call 534-8880.

Performances of the Mai Poina walking tours, co-sponsored by the Center for Biographical Research and the Hawai'i Council for the Humanities, will also be offered Sept. 9 and 10 beginning at 5 p.m.  On those evenings, the chanting will conclude the 6 p.m. performance.

First presented in 2009 and re-staged in 2010, the walking tours are immensely popular, with more than 1,300 people attending Mai Poina's six-night run in 2010.

Founded in 2007, the Hawai'i Pono'î Coalition is a consortium of Native Hawaiian-serving organizations dedicated to telling the true history of Hawai'i. For more information, please visit