Annual Kuhio Day parade to be held in Kapolei

Mar. 19—The annual Prince Kuhio Parade will take place in Kapolei this year rather than following its usual route through Waikiki.

The annual Prince Kuhio Parade will take place in Kapolei this year rather than following its usual route through Waikiki.

Saturday's parade, which honors Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana 'ole, is expecting 1, 000 marchers, 30 vehicles and floats and 10 bands, according to its city permit application.

Kapolei has the largest concentration of Hawaiian homesteads in the state, with more homes on the way, according to Kuhio Lewis, president and CEO of the nonprofit Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, a major parade supporter. It is also the location of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, which originated from the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, legislation that Kuhio spearheaded while serving as a nonvoting delegate to the House of Representatives in Congress from 1902 until his death in 1922.

"Kuhio is known as a citizen's prince, " Lewis said. "He's one of those figureheads that really made a mark. ... Bringing this parade that celebrates his life, his legacy, it just makes sense having it where there are beneficiaries of that legacy."

The parade will take place the day before the Prince Kuhio Day state holiday on March 26, established in 1949 to mark his birthday.

As the nephew of Queen Consort Kapi 'olani, Kuhio was given the courtesy title "prince " by King Kalakaua when he was a teenager. He dedicated his work to bettering the lives of Native Hawaiians, earning him the nickname "the Prince of the People."

Among his many accomplishments, Kuhio was involved in the creation of the county system still in effect today and helped form the first Hawaiian civic club in 1918 to perpetuate the Hawaiian language, heritage and culture and improve overall conditions for Native Hawaiians. There are now more than 50 Hawaiian civic clubs throughout the country. Kuhio also reestablished the Royal Order of Kamehameha I in 1903.

Holding the parade in Waikiki was a way to educate visitors about the far-reaching accomplishments of Kuhio and his work advocating for Native Hawaiians, Lewis said. Additionally, the land fronting Kuhio Beach is where his home once stood, and Waikiki also honored him with a main thoroughfare in his name and a statue.

With Kapolei hosting this year's parade, Lewis encouraged visitors and residents to make their way there to view the festivities and learn more about Kuhio's legacy.

"It's important for people that live in Hawaii because it's part of Hawaii's history, " Lewis said. "We had a kingdom that existed ; we had leaders that ascended from that kingdom that played significantly into the fabric of what Hawaii looks like today."

The parade is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Saturday at Kapolei Parkway and Kamaaha Avenue. It will continue eastbound on Kapolei Parkway until Ka Makana Ali 'i shopping center, which will be hosting a hoolaulea afterward.

Road closures are scheduled from about 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will primarily affect Kapolei Parkway.------Linsey Dower covers ethnic and cultural affairs and is a corps member of Report for America, a national service organization that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues and communities.------