Mai Poina living history tours offered weekends Sept. 2-9

Submitted by the Hawai‘i Pono‘ï Coalition

The lawn of ‘Iolani Palace will be alive with culture and history as the Hawai‘i Pono‘ï Coalition presents the 12th Annual ‘Onipa‘a Celebration on Sept. 2.

The event will open with entertainment at 10 a.m., and close with Mai Poina: The Overthrow, a living history walking tour retracing four pivotal days in Hawaiian history. At 3:30 p.m., chanters from Hālau Kū Māna will share mele written during this period in Hawai‘i’s history.

“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 Soulee Stroud.

The Sept 2 observance will contain three key elements:

  • 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: The day begins with entertainment by The Royal Hawaiian Band and ends with Hālau Kū Māna. A church service honoring the Queen begins at noon, followed by performances from Nā Hōkū Hanahano Award-winner Ku‘uipo Kumukahi. In the adjacent Kana‘ina Building at 11 a.m., the play “Ka Lei Maile Ali‘i – The Queen’s Women” re-enacts a meeting in Hilo encouraging Hawaiian citizens to sign petitions against the annexation of Hawai‘i to the United States. Cultural demonstrations will take place all day long on the palace lawn, and admission to the ‘Iolani Palace will be offered free of charge.
  • 3:30 p.m.: Hālau Kū Māna performs mele written during this historic time in Hawaiian history. Carefully gathered from books, newspaper articles and family collections, the mele encompass themes of adoration of the Queen, the unrest of the Hawaiian Nationals and other common ideas surrounding the overthrow.
  • 4, 4:20, 4:40, and 5:00 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 requested. Please see website at

Performances of the Mai Poina walking tours, co-sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Kamehameha Schools, will also be offered Sept. 3, 8, and 9 beginning at 4 p.m. On Sept. 9, chanting will conclude the 5 p.m. performance.

First presented in 2009, the walking tours are immensely popular, with more than 1,300 people attending Mai Poina’s four-night runs since 2009.

“This is a wonderful way to educate visitors and residents about Hawai‘i’s history,” said Craig Howes, director of the University of Hawai‘i Center for Biographical Research. “Our center was founded to facilitate and encourage the study and practice of biography in all its forms, and through programs like Mai Poina: The Overthrow, more people learn history in an engaging way.”

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