Kāhili Presentation & Emma’s Birthday Celebration

Aloha kākou!

Coming up on January 2nd, 2012, the Daughters of Hawai‘i will host a very special event. Over the past few months, one of our own Daughters, Gerry Miyamoto, has been working with Shad Kāne and others to restore some of our kāhili at Hānaiakamalama.

This simple project turned into a greater cause of restoring a lost, ancient Hawaiian practice. Kāhili Hānaiakamalama will be presented at noon on Monday, January 2, 2012. This project has been made possible by a generous grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Palace tours will be free that day with refreshments served around the ceremonial presentation of the kāhili. We will also be graced with the presence of the Queen Emma Summer Palace ‘Ukulele Club. We welcome you to join us. See the full press release below.



Resurrection of a Traditional Hawaiian Cultural Practice

What began as a relatively straightforward project – cleaning and refurbishing some 30 kāhili residing at Queen Emma Summer Palace – turned into a much broader and more interesting endeavor. Until recently, the practice of feather gathering has been forgotten, so Shad Kāne, with the assistance of former Daughters of Hawai‘i regent, Gerry Miyamoto, decided to recreate the ancient practice, using Hawaiian protocol, in the 21st century. Along with a kahuna, two kiamanu, a project director, videographer, much planning and preparation, and a grant from OHA, the group— Nā Kiamanu O Hānaiakamalama or The Feather Gatherers of Hānaiakamalama–went to Midway to collect feathers for kāhili.

The final outcome of this endeavor is twofold: each is equally important. Resurrecting the past practice of feather gathering – an all but lost Hawaiian tradition – and bringing it into the future is one aspect.

A new kāhili, named Kāhili Hānaiakamalama, was created, and will be presented to Hānaiakamalama on Monday, January 2nd, 2002, the 176th birthday of Hawaii’s beloved Queen Emma.

“The new kāhili is a symbol, a visual form of the project to give the community a better understanding of this ancient part of the Hawaiian culture,” Miyamoto remarks.

The new kāhili, “surrounded,” Kāne says, “by the many kāhili representing the embodiment of her ancestors, will be consecrated on the grounds of the palace and given a place to stay.

“When the sun will be at its highest point in the sky,” Kāne continues, “at the earthly home of Queen Emma, it is the ancient pageantry associated with the presentation of a kāhili to the highest of chiefs and chiefesses. “This is how it was once done.”

“We are grateful to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for recognizing the importance of this project and for the funding it has provided,” Miyamoto says. “They will be able to add to their collection of Hawaiian cultural data the work that will be completed by Nā Kiamanu O Hānaiakamalama.

“We also thank the Daughters of Hawai‘i for their support and the continuation of their mission via this educational venture.”

The public is invited to join the Daughters of Hawai‘i in celebrating Queen Emma’s birthday and the presentation of kāhili by Nā Kiamanu O Hānaiakamalama. Admission to the Palace is free on that day. Refreshments will be served; and the Queen Emma Summer Palace ‘Ukulele Club will perform. This is an event for the entire ‘ohana. The presentation of the kāhili is set to begin at noon.

More from Kiamanu Shad Kāne:

January 2, 2012, will not only be the celebration of the birthday of Queen Emma but the celebration of the restoration of a lost traditional practice and the protocols associated with that practice. It will be a historic day with the restoration of the cultural practice of the Kiamanu and those who have made it possible.

Much of our cultural past has been lost for various reasons. With the renaissance of our Hawaiian culture and especially Hawaiian language much of the traditions and practices have been restored. Hawaiian language is taught in many different venues. There are several hula festivals throughout the year, some of which encourage competition. Lomilomi and la‘au lapa‘au is taught and practiced by many. However, very little is known of the traditional practice, kapu and protocols of the Kiamanu: the bird feather gatherer, the great and first facilitator of relationships between the common people, the maka‘āinana, and the chiefs. Kapu associated with the highest of chiefs were set aside in his presence. We live by the lessons he taught, yet very little is known of this man of the forest. He lived amongst the birds and knew them well. He lived alone surrounded by kapu, protocol and prayers he asserted. He knew the birds by names and the places that they would return to every day.

The presentation and dedication of Kāhili Hānaiakamalama on January 2nd at Queen Emma Summer Palace is about is about the Daughters of Hawai‘i, the curators of the Queen Emma Summer Palace and their efforts to restore the traditional cultural practice of the Kiamanu. It is also about this mysterious man of the forest, the Kiamanu. Hānaiakamalama is a name given to the land upon which the palace resides by John Young II [who purchased it less than two years after it was completed. Young renamed the estate . . . after his family home of Hānaiakamalama on the island of Hawai‘i. More properly, the name is Hinahānaiakamalama, referring to the goddess Hina who, legend tells us, escaped from her abusive husband by climbing up a rainbow, and was eventually given sanctuary on the moon. Thus, ancient Hawaiians believed the face of Hina could be seen in the shadows of the moon. Na Lani Kaumaka]

Perhaps it is as important to understand that it is not just an effort to restore the traditions, customs and practices associated with the Kiamanu. It is the ancient pageantry associated with the presentation of a kāhili to the highest of chiefs and chiefesses such as that of Queen Emma. This is how it was once done. Hānaiakamalama surrounded by the many kāhili representing the embodiment of her ancestors. January 2, 2012, at Queen Emma Summer Palace when the sun will be at its highest point in the sky, Kāhili Hānaiakamalama, the earthly home of Queen Emma, surrounded by her ancestors and descendants of today will be consecrated on the grounds of the palace and given a place to stay; for it is she who resides in Kāhili Hānaiakamalama.

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