Categorized | Entertainment

Ku‘e Petition play in Keauhou (Jan. 13)


The public is invited to a short one-act play at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13 at the site of the old Kona Lagoon Hotel, just south of the recently-closed Keauhou Beach Resort.

Ka Lei Maile Alii, The Queen’s Women, recounts a now famous meeting held in Hilo in 1897 regarding the historically significant Ku‘e Petition.

The Kona Hawaiian Civic Club and The Keauhou-Kahaluu Educational Group are partnering for the event, which will include local actors in a staged reading of the play.

This extraordinary petition. discovered in the National Archives of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in 1997 and returned to Hawaii by Dr. Noenoe Silva, revealed what had been forgotten — that more than 90 percent of the native Hawaiians living at the time signed the petition protest annexation of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Silva will speak just before the play starts. Dr. David Keanu Sai will talk afterwards about legal issues surrounding the annexation.

The play is based on a newspaper article written in September, 1897, by Miriam Michelson, a reporter with the now defunct San Francisco Call. Michelson came from San Francisco on assignment to write about the annexation.

She spent time on Oahu and attended the auspicious standing-room-only meeting in Hilo, which was held at the Salvation Army Hall.

The play, written by Didi Lee Kawai and initially performed by members of the Ka Lei Maile Alii Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu, re-creates what it was like to participate in the signing of the Ku’e Petition.

KAPA radio personality Kaea Alapai will play Mrs. Abigail Campbell, who was instrumental in urging her fellow Hawaiians to sign the petition. Sherry Bracken, with LAVA 105.3 fm/KKOA 107.7 fm and Hawaii Public Radio, will play the reporter Miriam Michelson.

On view at the event will be the original Ku’e Petition Sign Display that toured the U.S. and was exhibited on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Each sign has the name of someone who signed the petition, including many Hawaii Island residents and kupuna from many Hawaii Island families. The signs will be displayed on the lawn before the play for viewing, and after the one-hour play, everyone will be invited out to look at the names.

This program is free and open to the public. There is ample free parking at the site and at Keauhou Beach Hotel, on the street, and across the street at the former Kona Gardens.

Attendees are invited to dress in clothing reminiscent of the late 1800s to enhance the experience of “being there” in 1897. If they wish, attendees are also invited to bring hookupu, an offering, for the Keauhou-Kahaluu Educational Group, which stewards the Kamehameha Schools-owned Kahaluu Manowai lands. They welcome native plants, which will be used to nurture the area.

Attendees who wish to bring lei to drape on the kupuna name signs are also invited to do so.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: