Just like Hawaii itself, there is something very special about the last prince of Hawaii, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole. The irresistible charm of his as a person is seen in every picture of him and felt in the hearts of many through the written records as if he is actually talking to you. It was his signature smile which gave him his famous nickname “Prince Cupid” throughout his entire life. Combined with his impeccable academic and athletic prowess as well as his charismatic presence and influence of being the only royalty and first native Hawaiian in the U.S. congress, he left a stellar impression everywhere he went. What he is remembered for most is his unparalleled compassion and support throughout his life for his people to regain their pride and strength as Hawaiian. People called the Prince as “Ke Ali`i Maka`ainana” (the Prince of the People). He didn’t become a king after all, but he was the true Ali‘i (chief) who never stopped fighting the battles for the rights of the Hawaiian people.
It is still one of my best childhood memories that I cherish in my heart even after many years have passed by. A big strand of yellow plumeria lei placed on my neck upon my arrival at the airport. A slightly dewy and velvety feeling against my nape, the sweet island smell instantly shrouding in my world…my sister and I shrieked and danced around as if we received a gold medal.
A weary feeling of jet lag was long gone, and a lingering discord from trivial arguments such as who’s going to take the window seat were amended, from the shared joy of a welcoming lei. And it was the same for hundreds of others who arrived from all over the world. Everyone was welcomed. Everyone was smiling, both the givers and the receivers.
Some of the best footage from this summer from our friends at Ryzone Media