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THINGS TO DO IN HAWAII: TRAVEL IDEAS

King Kamehameha's rich history. Vintage hula and great shows.

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King Kamehameha statute

Photos by Phillip Roberts: (top to bottom) Kamehameha the Great; Ka‘ahumanu; Diamondhead Lighthouse; Amelia Earheart commemorative statue, Hawaii Theater.

Looking for things to do in Hawaii? Aloha from the middle of the Pacific! My name is Phillip Roberts and I have been lucky enough to live on O‘ahu since 1993.

Kamehameha Day, Hawaii

June 11 is Kamehameha Day. The state holiday celebrates the great chief who unified the entire Hawai‘ian island chain under one rule. Kamehameha the great was Hawai‘i’s last pagan ruler. He was a man at a crossroads in history who embraced the future while clinging to the past.

The Kamehameha I statue at Honolulu Hale is draped with lei. A huge parade with floral floats and pa‘u riders starts downtown and ends up with a gigantic festival in Kapiolani Park.

The Kamehameha statue in front of Ali‘iolani Hale is the 2nd one created by Boston sculptor Thomas R. Gould. The first statue, after being commissioned for the 100th Anniversary of Captain Cook’s discovery of the islands, was lost in a shipwreck near the Falkland Islands. Insured by the Hawai’i government, Gould raced to recreate the statue and shipped it to the islands. In the meantime, the original statue was salvaged and re-sold to the sculptor. The first statue now stands in Kapa‘au, North Kohala near the king’s birthplace.

Kaahumanu statue, Hawaii

After Kamehameha’s death in 1819, his son Kamehameha (Liholiho) II ascended to the throne. The new king, urged on by Kamehameha’s favorite wife, Ka‘ahumanu, and in violation of traditions, dined with women. This simple act of “free eating,” led to the destruction of all kapu (taboo) in Hawai‘i. The gods of paradise are banished; the heiau (temples) were razed, idols were burned, and remaining believers were forced underground.

Vintage Hula Video

Found on YouTube, a hula interlude with Ana Lani and Ray Kinney.

I love tone of the steel guitar played by an unknown musician. Kinney, the famous orchestra leader is seen on the acoustic guitar in the film.

Diamondhead Lighthouse and Amelia Earhart

Diamond Head Lighthouse, Hawaii

Out on the South shore is the Diamondhead lighthouse erected in 1917. It houses the original Fresnel lens from the 1899 lighthouse and stands 147 feet above sea level. The lighthouse is not open to the public.

A few hundred feet from the lighthouse is a plaque commemorating Amelia Earhart’s first solo trip across the Pacific in January 11th, 1935. I am fascinated by the exploits of 1920-1930’s daredevils.

Amelia Earhart statue, Hawaii

Some June events in Hawai‘i I recommend.

June 4 - 7 30th Annual Pan Pacific Festival. The Pan Pacific Matsuri festival featuring Japan, Hawaii, and the Pacific Basin. Ho‘olaule'a (meaning celebration) block party, parade, hula, music, ethnic foods, and are more available at this event’s many functions. FREE.

June 11— King Kamehameha Day Floral parade and festival. FREE.

June 13 — The Pussycat Dolls perform at the Blaisdale Concert Hall. Grrrr! $.

June 13-14 Sheepdawg Music Festival 2009 on Maui. Billed as a weekend of music, art, and community the show is headlined by reggae greatsThe Itals! Camping is on site, at Camp Keanae on the North Shore of Maui. This gathering is a celebration of love and light, through an eclectic blend of food, music, performance art, and community. $.

June 17-21 Maui Film Festival. Movies under the stars at Wailea! $.

June 26-282009 Dragon Boat Festival at Ala Moana Beach Park. Boat races to frighten away evil spirits! Carnival, Entertainment, and more! FREE.

June 27-2848th Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau Annual Cultural Festival. The event features hands on activities and demonstrations of Hawai‘ian arts and lifestyle activities such as net fishing, weaving, and food preparation. I strongly recommend a visit to the city of refuge during any trip to the big island of Hawai'i anyway. Park fees ate waived for this special event. FREE.

June 27Third Eye Blind at Pipeline Cafe. These guys are always good. I guess my pal Arion Salazar is no longer playing with the band. $.

June 29Eddie Vetter plays live at the Castle Theater in Maui. I’d expect there to be many special guests at these performances as the Pearl Jam front man knows loads of talented Hawai‘i musicians like Jack Johnson. Liam Finn, eldest son of Neil Finn from Crowded House and Split Enz opens the dates (Oahu Shows are in July 1st and 2nd at the historic Hawaii Theater.) 'Nuff said. $.

Hawaii Theater

Until next month, Aloha!

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