Monday, January 3, 2011
Honoring our Ali'i
Mauna 'Ala is not just another cemetery. It is not a part of the State of Hawai'i, nor is it part of the Untied States. Here, one stands in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Here many of our Ali'i, our royalty, are buried.
Here members of the four Royal Societies and Daughters of Hawai'i (we are not a royal society, i.e., not founded by one of the ali'i) gather on specific days to honor one or more of those ali'i. On New Year's Eve we gathered to remember Queen Kapiolani, wife of our last king, Kalakaua. On January 2 we gathered again, this time to honor Queen Emma, wife of Kamehameha IV, on her birthday.
We are reminded of the contributions the ali'i made to society. Most were writers and musicians, poets and composers. They were social reformers in a world of change. They were fierce champions of their people and their nation.
Queens Emma and Kapi'olani are each credited with founding a hospital -- Emma, the Queens Hospital opened originally to combat the western diseases decimating the Hawaiian population; and Kapiolani the hospital which bears her name, serving specifically women and children. My mother, my brother and I were all born at Kapi'olani Hospital. Today Kapi'olani provides the only 24-hour pediatric emergency care and the only pediatric and neo-natal Intensive Care Units in the state.
Emma petitioned the Anglican Church to come to Hawaii, and to establish a school for girls in Honolulu. In my own line, I am the first in five generations not to attend St. Andrew's Priory.
The photo above shows a portion of the procession entering the chapel at Mauna 'Ala. The ladies in black with golden lei are members of the Ka'ahumanu Society. Daughters of Hawai'i, similarly garbed in white with golden lei, follow them. Ahead, with capes, are members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha. The processional order may change depending on the ali'i being honored, but it is always single file, always silent, always a reminder of who we are as part of the Hawaiian community.
Give thanks for the contributions of our ali'i, especially the Queens Medical Center, St. Andrew's Priory , and the Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women and Children.
Don't forget to pray.