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Ho‘ōla Lāhui, Ho‘oulu Pae ‘Āina: Vibrant People Thriving Lands

Celebrating 125 Years, on November 4, 1887, opening ceremonies were held for the Kamehameha School for Boys which was located at Kaiwi‘ula, Kapālama where the Bishop Museum still stands today. Followed by the Preparatory School in 1888 and the School for Girls  in 1894, Kamehameha was affectionately described as Ku‘u Home Ho‘ona‘auao, “My home of learning,” by the scores of young Hawaiians who entered its halls eager to learn, and who departed as good and industrious men and women.

A few years earlier in 1884, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop had been convalescing at her home at Helumoa in Waikīkī. With the Hawaiian kingdom hanging in the balance and the social condition of Hawaiians in serious decline, Pauahi affixed her signature to her Last Will and Testament on July 6, which forever changed the course of history. With her own health in decline, she would leave this earth a few months later believing, perhaps, that her people

might someday become empowered by her legacy and find their way forward to do great things in the generations to come. Pauahi understood the power of education and the value of the significant resources she inherited. With her eyes cast beyond the horizon, she envisioned a vibrant and promising world for her people. Perhaps she saw a future of health and well-being, of industry and abundance, of innovation and global contribution — a future that might not only parallel the millennial greatness of Hawaiians’ Polynesian heritage, but one in which the world might view Hawaiians as successful because of the richness of their cultural heritage, and not in spite of it.

Ever-guided by Ke Akua to whom she was fully devoted, and driven by a sense of compassion and duty to serve her people, Pauahi was an exemplar of ‘ōpū ali‘i, “chiefly benevolence,” an uncommon virtue she exemplified through the founding of the Kamehameha Schools.

Much has happened in a hundred and twenty-five years. Today, some 6,000 young Hawaiians attend programs at three campuses located on different islands, with some 45,000 Hawaiian learners receiving educational services throughout the community. Supporting this tremendous educational legacy is a significant land legacy consisting of over 345,000 acres, some of which passed into Pauahi’s hands from her parents, High Chiefess Laura Konia and High Chief Abner Pākī, and most of which came from her cousin Princess Ruth Ke‘elikōlani. The inter relationship of people and land — of kānaka and ‘āina — is fundamental to Hawaiian identity and central in Hawaiians’ worldview. In this light, the 92nd Annual Song Contest is proud to highlight the overall theme of the Kamehameha Schools 125th Anniversary Celebration: Ho‘ōla Lāhui, Ho‘oulu Pae ‘Āina — Vibrant People, Thriving Lands.

Ke Aliʻi Pauahi’s Lands are vast and diverse. They include pristine forests of koa and ‘ōhi‘a, lofty summits and lush valleys, watersheds and streams, sacred ancestral sites, fertile fields of sweet kalo, as well as revenue-producing lands that subsidize the education of Hawaiian youth. For this evening’s competition, some of Hawai‘i’s most accomplished musicians and composers have created musical ho‘okupu to celebrate Pauahi’s lands and the vibrant communities that call them home: Carlos Andrade, Manu Boyd, Nalani Choy, Kaiponohea Hale, Kamakāne Hopkins, Rev. Dennis Kamakahi, Ku‘ualohanui Kauli‘a and Ke‘ala Kwan, Keawe and Tracie Lopes, Kenneth Makuakāne and Keola Donaghy, Kellen and Līhau Paik. The generous participation of these talented individuals brings honor not only to Kamehameha Schools, but to the much valued tradition of haku mele, the poetic arts. For it is through mele that Hawaiians have always recorded events, remembered people and places, and evoked memories and emotions that endure over time. We are certain that you will appreciate their unique stories as expressed in lyric and song which can be found in the pages that follow. The high school students of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama wish to express their heartfelt gratitude to the composers for allowing them the privilege of performing these newly-composed mele in tonight’s competition.

In addition to the gift of music, tonight’s celebration provides an opportunity to learn a little bit about the vibrant efforts underway that allow Pauahi’s ‘āina ho‘oilina – land legacy – to thrive.

Wahi featured in the mele include:

  • Keauhou, Kaʻū, Hawaiʻi
  • Keauhou-Kahaluʻu, Kona, Hawaiʻi
  • Kaʻūpūlehua, Kona, Hawaiʻi
  • Kamalō, Molokaʻi
  • Kakaʻako, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
  • Heʻeia, Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu
  • Waialua, Oʻahu
  • Punaluʻu, Koʻolauloa, Oʻahu
  • Waipā, Haleleʻa, Kauaʻi
  • Waiʻanae, Oʻahu