HONOLULU (KHON2) – “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono.”
This phrase was exclaimed by King Kamehameha III in 1843 following the return of the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom from Britain.
Saturday, July 31, marks 178 years since this event. To find out more about this, organizer of the event called “Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea Honolulu,” Imaikalani Winchester explains.
When we look at this phrase, today being the motto for the State of Hawaiʻi, it says “The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness.” KHON2 asks do you agree with that translation or is there a different way you would look at that?
“When you look at the political history of Hawaiʻi, which is celebrated here at Thomas Square on July 31, we see that Hawaiʻi was a modern and progressive state,” says Winchester. “We possess something called independence which is the Hawaiian word for ea.”
“And so this phrase, which is our national motto established in 1843 by King Kamehameha after this important event, reminds us of our independence. Our independence which is the life of our nation and so we celebrate Ka La Hoʻihoʻi Ea and remind our people to ea, to rise. One of the many meanings, one of the many powerful foundations of our culture that still exists today here at Thomas Square.”
Tomorrow, Saturday July 31, will be yet another year, as you do this every year, honoring this specific event here at Thomas Square.
What are we expecting?
And of course, with COVID numbers rising yet again, what implements are being taken to make sure this is safe?
“Well, we want to be as cautious as we can with our lāhui, with our community, so we want to exercise extreme caution,” says Winchester.
“But we are also here to fulfill the annual celebration of the raising of the flag to tell the story, to share that message with the generations both young and old in a sense to ea, to rise or to elevate the consciousness of our people so we can move together towards transforming our reality towards independence.”
Every year, you honor a couple community members and kūpuna who have really pave the way for many of us to walk on today. KHON2 asks who will be honored this year, and what is the process to get to that decision?
“This year we are going to take the time to celebrate two very important wāhine, mana wāhine,” says Winchester.
“One who has just recently passed, maybe a few years ago, who has been a tremendous amount to the reclamation of our identity as Hawaiians and to the possibility to what we can be again is Marion Kelly. The second honoree that we have this year is an active front line leader and organizer to this very moment who is Lynette Cruz. We are very happy and very honored to be able to share this space and share this celebration of our ea, our independence, with these freedom fighters.”
Thomas Square is considered the oldest park in Hawaiʻi named after Admiral Richard Thomas of Britain, the man responsible for lowering the Union Jack and re-raising the Hawaiian flag.
Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea Honolulu’s flag ceremony kicks off Saturday, July 31 at 11 a.m.
For all the information, click here.