On Sunday, June 11, 2017, I marched as a member of the Ahahui Ka’ahumanu (ladies in black) along with members of the royal societies and community members to honor the birthday of Hawaii’s First King for his birthday. Kamehameha the Great unified the Hawaiian Islands in 1810 into one kingdom that lasted until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893 by primarily American businessmen. This commemorative march for King Kamehameha the Great is a solemn occasion devoid of floats and commercialism unlike the Nā Kamehameha Commemorative Pā’ū Parade and Ho’olaule’a in Lahaina to be held this year on Saturday and Sunday, June 17-18. I was pleased to find out that my uncle, Clifford Hashimoto, in his capacity as statewide Ali’i Aimoku (head of all island chapters of the Royal Order of Kamehameha) had started this annual march in 2004 making this the 13th year of the event. About 60 people including children to adults in their 80’s marched down Ka’ahumanu Avenue in Kahului from the University of Hawaii Maui College to Hoaloha Park followed by a pa’ina hosted by the Royal Order of Kamehameha at their clubhouse Hale Nanea.
New this year, we did not stop for a short ceremony in front of Maui Beach Hotel plus we had community members from a Hawaiian language school and church group join us. Absent from previous years were representatives from Haleakala National Park and Kamehameha Schools Maui. I was one of two Ahahui Ka’ahumanu sisters who marched the entire route and later two more sisters joined in at the halfway mark. I was surprised at the low turnout especially after learning there are over 90 members in our Ahahui chapter.
Note: The Ahahui Ka’ahumanu is a royal society honoring Queen Ka’ahumanu and members must be Native Hawaiian and sponsored in by another member in good standing. I have been a proud member since September 2004 and participated in my first Kamehameha Day march in June 2005. I like the fact that the march is held on the King’s birthday of June 11 no matter what day of the week it falls. Participating in the annual march for Kamehameha is just one of the many Hawaiian cultural activities that we do in the Ahahui Ka’ahumanu.
I am proud of my Hawaiian heritage. I have served as past historian for the Ahahui, presented public oral history programs, and continue to teach Hawaiian songs and the stories behind them to keep our traditional music alive.
Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele