From the 60th Merrie Monarch Festival to a Royal Coronation


Photo: Kaleihikina Akaka

This past April marked the momentous 60th anniversary of the Merrie Monarch Festival. A legacy shared through a week of hula competition, artisans and a parade in Hilo, honoring King David Laʻamea Kalākaua and his contributions to hula as a patron of the arts, music and dance. We celebrate, commemorate and perpetuate our culture as the Indigenous people of Hawai‘i by showcasing to the world our talents and aloha.

What an honor to represent OHA in the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade, alongside Chair Hulu Lindsey, Vice Chair Mililani Trask, Trustee Luana Alapa and Trustee Keoni Souza.

Trustee Akaka and her daughter along with trustees Trask, Lindsey, Souza and Alapa riding in the parade. Bottom: Sharing shakas and smiles along the parade route. – Courtesy Photos

Also riding at my side was my beloved baby, Ana Kapuahilehuaāiwaiwamaikahikinaiʻōlaʻa as we share aloha for the Hawaiian language, hula, culture and traditions through this week of festivities. Mahalo to all who make the Merrie Monarch Festival the world-class celebration that it is!

Photo: Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla
Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla wave to onlookers on Coronation Day.

The coronation of their majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla on May 6, 2023, brought forward continuity, inclusivity and fusion of past and present, celebrating the diversity of the nation. Highlighted in the King’s coronation is his lifelong mindfulness and genuine interest in the natural world and passionate care for the environment to nurture our young people and ingrain how important our environment is for our future and find solutions to these challenges.

The King stated, “I come not to be served but to serve.” His duty of service to the people and his notable creation of the Prince’s Trust launched in the 1970s with his navy severance pay of £7,400 has helped a million young people and more to live, learn and earn.

I was happy to hear highlighted during the coronation, similarities of our work through the years with the same goals of teaching children where their food comes from and educating them on farming and the food industry, and the Queen’s commitment to taking on gender-based violence.

At the Coronation Concert, William Prince of Wales spoke of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II looking from above with pride quoting her 1953 coronation speech, “Coronations are a declaration of our hopes for the future…And I know she’s up there fondly keeping an eye on us.”

As we are guided by our ʻohana before us, service is aloha in action.