I was honored to attend the last Jubilee celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Royal Order of Kamehameha in Wailea, Maui, in 2016. The celebration was attended by many notable leaders throughout our community – all dressed for the occasion.
The evening reminded me of historical accounts of celebrations at ʻIolani Palace when the festivities would include music by the Royal Hawaiian Band that could be heard throughout downtown Honolulu.
This wonderful annual milestone not only represents the strength of this distinguished Hawaiian organization but also reminds us that the time of our aliʻi isn’t just a distant memory that exists only in history. The vibrancy of this organization exemplifies the fluidity and health of our culture, people, and place.
Established in 1865 by Kamehameha V, Lot Kapuāiwa, the Royal Order of Kamehameha was founded to honor the legacy of Kamehameha I. The organization is dedicated to defending the sovereignty of Hawaiʻi, carrying out the kuleana to uplift Kānaka Maoli, and upholding Hawaiian values and characteristics such as friendship, benevolence, charity, leadership, good moral character, and physical health.
The simple existence, let alone the success, of the Royal Order of Kamehameha with its various chapters throughout Hawaiʻi, is an example of Hawaiian values and kuleana thriving in 2022. They bring to the forefront the ways of our aliʻi and remind us to adhere to the fundamental model demonstrated by their presence and work.
Similarly, other aliʻi societies such as the ʻAhahui Kaʻahumanu and Hale o Nā Aliʻi also encourage us to continue practicing our culture. The status, stature and respect afforded to these organizations are a testament to the importance of the core characteristics embodied by our aliʻi, kūpuna, and people; characteristics that are still relevant and important today.
Just like many other aliʻi trusts, the foresight of Kamehameha V continues to benefit our people, even 156 years later. The intellect of our aliʻi allowed them to adhere to traditional values, practices, and beliefs, while adapting to a changing society, working within a foreign structure and appropriating it to their own lāhui’s benefit. This was a heavy kuleana for our aliʻi, one they navigated successfully.
This same kuleana continues to exist today. As kānaka living in 2022, we have the same kuleana to uphold, mālama, and invest in the wellbeing of our lāhui through all avenues. This kuleana is increasingly important in Hawaiʻi’s contemporary society and equally as challenging.
Personally, I believe that one of the avenues through which we solidify our voices is through voting. Whether we are encouraged and thankful to our elected officials or whether we are unhappy with the current leadership, we must vote.
The primary election is scheduled for August 13 with the general election taking place on November 8. Every registered voter in Hawaiʻi automatically receives a ballot in the mail, in accordance with an all-mail election state law that went into effect in 2020. Mail-in ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on the primary and general election dates.
Mail-in voting allows you to cast your vote without having to leave the comfort of your own home. To register in person, visit your County Clerk’s Office or go online to: www.elections.hawaii.gov to register.
We must remember the examples already set forth for us by our aliʻi and kūpuna; honoring their foresight, and drawing on the intellect of those who came before us. Our kuleana to Hawaiʻi is a great burden, but also a great honor. I congratulate the leadership and members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha for 156 years of honoring Kamehameha and encourage us all to look to their example and follow in our aliʻi’s footsteps.