Kokua Way: Of history, music, drama, paniolo, quilts and cherry blossoms

Honokaa Public Library will present “He Lei, He Aloha, This is a ‘Lei of Love,’ The Legacies of Queen Liliuokalani” on Thursday. The touring presentation celebrates the queen’s enduring love of homeland, her music and complete dedication to the people of Hawaii. Come to the library at 5:30 p.m. for this free 45-minute program suitable for ages 12 and older. The queen expressed aloha through her actions and the examples she set.

The presentation includes selected readings, a sing-along of music from the “Queen’s Songbook,” a seven-minute film, and talk-story moderated by the Iolani Guild of Hawaii, with narrator Meleanna Aluli Meyer. Meyer is an artist, art educator, filmmaker and descendent of Emma Nawahi, confidante of the queen. This program includes community readings from the queen’s autobiography, “Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen.”

Sponsors are the Hawaii State Library System, Native Books/Na Mea Hawaii, Queen Liliuokalani Trust, Hui Hanai, Hawaiian Airlines, Alexander &Baldwin, King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, Puuhonua Society and the Iolani Guild of the Episcopal Church. For more information, call 775-8881.


Join in a discussion with the Hamakua Safety Committee this Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at North Hawaii Education and Research Center.


The Paniolo Preservation Society’s second Kepa Lifetime Achievement Awards are Saturday, Jan. 18, at 5:30 p.m. Historic Pukalani Stables will honor six paniolo from across Hawaii Island for lifetime achievement and dedication to the state’s paniolo heritage and cattle industry.

Honorees are Willy Andrade, independent rancher of Honokaa; Tommy Kaniho of Kaalualu Ranch in Ka‘u, and four Kona paniolo — ¨Gilbert Loando of Hualalai Ranch, Tony Jose of Palani Ranch, Alfred Medeiros of McCandless Ranch and Manuel Medeiros of Ho‘omau Ranch.

The celebration promises to be filled with nostalgia and stories about these great men. This celebration will include a Hawaiian plate dinner, music and award ceremony. Tickets ($15) available at Kamuela Liquor, Parker Ranch Store, Kuaana Saddlery at Pukalani Stables and at Gramma’s Kitchen in Honokaa. For more information, visit www.PanioloPreservation.org.


Thomas Mapfumo, known as the “Lion of Zimbabwe,” is one of Africa’s most beloved musical performers. As Mapfumo became more and more popular, he realized that his music could carry a powerful political message. He began singing songs that called for a major overthrow of the Rhodesian government, and encouraged uprisings among the Shona people. He called his new style of politically charged Afro-pop-soul music “Chimurenga,” which means “struggle” in Shona.

He currently lives in self-imposed political exile in the United States. Come to hear his music at the Kahilu Theatre at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24. For tickets, call 885-6868 or order online at http://kahilutheatre.org.


Plan your new year workshop, classes or fundraiser at Historic Spencer House and help support this new beginning for this iconic Waimea landmark. Reservations now being accepted for both special events and classes, meetings and presentations in this beautiful 22-room home. In the process, help bring this 16-decade-old home back to life in the 21st century. There are very reasonable introductory rentals. For more information call Paul Johnston (938-4540), email: pej1000@aol.com; for scheduling: Betsy Sanderson (938-2897) or email: bas1001@aol.com. Find them on Facebook.


Coming up is the 21st Annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival on Saturday, Feb. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dozens of community organizations join forces to paint the town pink, showcasing the blooming of Waimea historic 60-year-old cherry trees at Church Row Park and the Japanese tradition of viewing them: ¨hanami.

As always, the festival includes a variety of activities at multiple venues throughout Waimea. Look for pink banners identifying site locations sprawling from the Parker Ranch Center to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Highway 19. This year’s festival will be dedicated to Waimea residents Emiko Wakayama and Fumi Bonk during opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. on the entertainment stage at the back of PRC.

Then plan to spend the day to experience a lineup of Japanese and multicultural performing arts, plus hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami, traditional tea ceremony, mochi pounding, sake tasting and colorful craft fairs. Enjoy free shuttle transportation among most venues. This special day is sponsored by many Waimea community groups, churches, temples, clubs and businesses in partnership with the County of Hawaii Department of Parks &Recreation Arts &Culture Division. For more information, contact Roxcie Waltjen (961-8706).

The Biennial Festival of Quilts, presented in conjunction with the Waimea Annual Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival, can be found at the Kahilu Town Hall in the back of Parker Ranch Center, also from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is sponsored by Ka Hui Kapa Apana O Waimea, which is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Hawaiian quilting. Primarily Hawaiian quilts, but also some Americana, plus crafts, quilting supplies and a “learn how” area to get a start on creating something of your own. Materials will be provided for free, however donations are welcomed.

Carol Yurth’s column is published every Sunday and spotlights activities on the Hilo-Hamakua coast. She welcomes items for her column. Reach her by mail (46-1250 Kalehua Road, Honokaa HI 96727) at least 10 days before the requested publication date, call her at 775-7101, or e-mail waiukahenutz@gmail.com.


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