About

Hawai'i Ponoi CoalitionʻO Ka Poʻe i Aloha I Ka ʻĀina – The People Who Love The Land

Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī is the title of the Hawaiʻi National Anthem written by King Kalākaua in 1874. Literally translated, “Hawaiʻi’s Own,” Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī connects us to the history of the islands and the heritage of its indigenous people, a heritage that enriches us all. The Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī Coalition was formed to educate those who live in and visit the islands about Hawaiʻi’s true history, the Native Hawaiian people, and the culture that makes Hawaiʻi a place like no other.

Founding Members of the Hawaii Pono’i Coalition in August 2007
  • Alu Like, Inc.
  • Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs
  • Friends of ‘IolaniPalace
  • ‘Ilio‘ulaokalani Coalitlion
  • Kamehameha Schools
  • Nā Pua a Ke Ali‘i Pauahi
  • Native Hawaiian Bar Association
  • Native Hawaiian Legal Corp
  • Office of Hawaiian Affairs
  • PA‘I Foundation
  • Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust and Learning Center
  • UH Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies

Active members as of July 2013:

  • Alu Like, Inc
  • Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs
  • Friends of ‘Iolani Palace
  • ‘Ilio‘ulaokalani Coalition
  • Kamehameha Schools
  • Native Hawaiian Bar Association
  • Native Hawaiian Legal Corp
  • Office of Hawaiian Affairs
  • PA‘I Foundation
  • Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center
  • UH Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies
  • Others: Meleanna Meyer

Background

The Hawaii Pono‘ī Coalition began with a series of meetings with leaders of Native Hawaiian serving organizations to respond to the continuous rhetoric seeking to characterize Native Hawaiians as a minority race and entitlements such as those afforded by OHA, DHHL, Kamehameha Schools, Alulike, and the Queen Liliuokalani Trust as being racist. It’s first meeting was held on June 6, 2007, with presentations given by Jon Osorio and Ikaika Hussey on a possible “teach in” at Kamakakūokalani, identification of the Grassroots Institute leadership by Clyde Nāmuō, and the outline of an educational campaign presented by Ann Botticelli and Kahoonei Panoke. A first event was Onipaa in September 2007, intended to be both an educational event and a commemoration of Liliuokalani’s birthday.

Ann Botticelli, with the help of Kaho‘onei Panoke, took the lead as communications officer to move the event forward with this small group who eventually invited others. Financial support was provided by Kamehameha Schools, Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center.

The Hawaii Pono’ī Coalition is named after “Hawaii Pono’ī”, which has been declared the Hawaii National Anthem. That song was written by King David Kalākaua in 1874 and the title means “Hawaii’s Own”.

The Coalition was founded during a time when the Kamehameha Schools right to give admissions priority to applicants with Native Hawaiian ancestry was being challenged, the Arakaki v Lingle case was pending in Federal Court, and the ceded lands case was wending its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Since its founding in 2007, the Coalition has presented events to educate residents and visitors about the true history of Hawai’i and its people. Events have included:

The annual ‘Onipa’a celebration honoring Queen Lili’uokalani as a leader of peace and justice, the first held in September 2007 at the ‘Iolani Palace. Highlights of this celebration included: 1) Twenty-two displays showing legally significant documents and related photographs in the establishment of the government of the Kingdom of Hawaii, its recognition by the international community including the United States, its “annexation” by the United States and the current relationship between the Native Hawaiian peoples and United States first presented by the Native Hawaiian Bar Association at the 2006 ABA Conference held in Honolulu; 2) the “Queen’s Play” a one- act play re-enactment of a now famous meeting in Hilo in 1897 between Hui Aloha ‘Āina o Nā Wahine (Women’s Hawaiian Patriotic League) and the maka’āinana. The subject of that gathering was the Ku’e Petition against annexation of Hawaii to the United States signed by nearly every kanaka maoli living at that time. 3) the Mai Poina Walking Tours which revisit four pivotal days leading up to and including the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. Written by Victoria Kneubuhl, it was first enacted on the streets of Honolulu in 1993 and then restaged on the grounds of Iolani Palace on August 21, 2009. It has now had its fifth year at the recent 2013 Onipaa event; 4) Exhibits on cultural places, such as Kukaniloko; the Hawaiian Flag; Hawaiian Kingdom postage stamps; Hawaiian Kingdom parliamentary procedures; 5) Ho’omana ia Lili’uokalani, mele, oli, hula, Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen readings; and 6) Hawaiian organization exhibits on their mission.

The Hawaii Ponoi Coalition has had other events, such as several years of Mele Lahui in Tamarind Park in Janaury to commemorate the overthrow. The Annexation Debate was performed in February 2012 at Hale Aliiolani. It is a play first performed some 20 years ago, written by Victoria Kneubuhl. The Trial of the Queen is being performed in October 2013 after a hiatus of 20 years and completes what we know as the Mai Poina Trilogy. The performances offered by Mai Poina have come to include chants directed by Manu Kaiama and responses by Youth Speaks Hawaii, as well as conversations with Native Hawaiian scholars whose works appear in the Mai Poina Visitors Guides.

Attendance at Coalition events has varied. The initial ‘Onipa’a celebration in 2007 drew an estimated 5000 attendees from all over the world. Survey results indicated that the event was well received and informative. Subsequent Onipa’a celebrations have drawn more than 3,000 attendees throughout the day.

Mai Poina Walking Tours were filled to capacity, drawing more than 1,300 people annually, many of whom stayed after the tour to discuss the facts of the overthrow with a rotating pool of Native Hawaiian scholars. Results of a survey conducted in 2010 suggest that the tours are extremely well received and raise the level of knowledge about the events of this important time. In 2012 the International Law and Society Center engaged Mai Poina for its attendees. The funds were used to underwrite much of the 2012 September Walking Tours.

The “Annexation Debate” drama held in 2012 at the State Judiciary History Center courtroom attracted over 500 people over a 4-night run.

The Coalition’s events are dependent upon financial and in-kind support from its member organizations: Primary funders have included the Kamehameha Schools, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center. The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace has hosted ‘Onipa’a and opened its doors free to the public (estimated value $30,000). Besides funding, these organizations have also provided staff and logistical services to ‘Onipa’a. In kind volunteer services were provided by other members of the coalition including Alu Like, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, the Native Hawaiian Bar Association, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, and Pa‘i Foundation. Funding sponsors for the Mai Poina Walking Tours and the Annexation Debate have included: Hawaii Council for the Humanities, Hawai’i People’s Fund, Kamehameha Schools, Chaminade University, King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, and more recently the Dolores Furtado Martin Foundation and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission. All of the actors and staff are paid honorariums which are much reduced.

Trade Name:

Hawaii Pono‘ī Coalition is a registered trade name in the State of Hawaii since 2007. It is not incorporated, and would be considered as an “unincorporated association.

Website

Webmaster: Blaine Fergerstrom. Site: www.hawaiiponoi.info