`Iolani `ahu history

Davianna McGregor has compiled several items relating to the building of the 'ahu at the Palace...

Ahu Flyer

Saturday, January 16, 1993
All Day

‘Iolani Palace Grounds
near the corner of King St. and Likelike

to build a traditional stone ahu
as a lasting reminder of the 100 year observance
as a symbol of hope
for the revitalization of the Kanaka Maoli nation

Those wishing to participate may bring a pohaku
to be used in building the ahu

The ahu will be dedicated Sunday January 17
upon completion

PDF [Pele Defense Fund] Notes about the Ahu

Background Information: The idea to build the ahu was a result of discussions (present: members of Hawai’i Island groups from Ka’u, Kona, and Hilo) held at KaLae, Ka’u, on December 31, 1992 and Jan. 1 1993. The need was felt for ‘ohana to participate in a basic Hawaiian spiritual way with this 100 year observance.

The location was chosen (present: Palikapu Dedman, Emmett Aluli, Davianna McGregor, Margaret McGuire) on the night of Jan. 5, 1993, at ‘Iolani Palace after the Hui Na’auao meeting where legislative demands for sovereignty and direct relief were presented.

Negotiations with the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace to “allow” this kuahu to be built on the palace grounds took place on Jan. 16, 1993 at the “stockade” building on the palace grounds. Explanation by Palikapu Dedman of the purpose of the ahu and why it should remain for all Hawaiians was instrumental in accomplishing endorsement of the action by all present. Present at 2:00 meeting: Palikapu, Frenchie DeSoto, Elizabeth Pa Martin, Eloise Tungpalan, William Paty.

Present at 7:00pm meeting: Eloise Tungpalan, Palikapu Dedman, Emmett Aluli, Davianna McGregor, Yuklin Aluli

Pohaku began to arrive on site early on Sat. Jan. 16, 1993. The ahu was built from about 10:00pm to midnite by kanaka maoli from the island of Hawai’i: James Akiona, Jr., Raymond Genedabuos, John Bull, Adatchie, Eaton, Fred Puou, Tommy Kanakaole, Alan Kanakaole, Bo Kahui, Emmett LeeLoy. Witnesses were present during the building, including Palikapu Dedman, Williama Viernes, Michelle Kalei Minchew, Simbralynn Kanakaole, Ross Esperon, Ipo Ke, Margaret M. Kamakahukilani Von Olhoffen.

The dedication of the ahu took place at about 6:30pm(?) on Sunday, January 17, 1993. Participating in the dedication were Parley Kanakaole, Kaleo Patterson, Rev. Paul Sherry, Palikapu Dedman, Emmett Aluli.

Others present included: Davianna McGregor, Margaret McGuire, Ha’aheo Guanson, Becky Gallatin (World Council of Churches), Lei ___, Lehua Lopez, Michelle Minchew, Adatchie Eaton.


The Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, January 18, 1993, p. A-5

Some carried family stones to lay in the traditional Hawaiian altar, or ahu, that was being constructed at the far makai/diamondhead corner of the palace grounds.

Wendell De Freitas carried a stone from his Kaunakakai home in hi lap on the plane from Moloka’i. Twelve-year-old Kaiwi Orr carried his, a small twisted rope of lava he had found diving, in his carry-on bag from Hana, Maui. Mary “Tutti” Baker brought hers from the lo’i at the University of Hawai’i.

“This ahu is us,” said Ralph Palikapu Dedman, spokesman for the Pele Defense Fund, who had organized the gathering of stones from all islands as a show of Hawaiian unity and strength.”

“All sizes and shapes, and when we’re all together, it’s a good foundation.

“Some of us can’t relate to the velvet curtains and the marble steps, but we can really relate to our stones. This was our gift to the palace and the future and our kids.”

After three hours of meetings Saturday, the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace agreed to let the ahu stand. To Dedman it was the first small victory in the struggle for sovereignty.

“If they could not hurdle these small little stones, they’re not ready for us with sovereignty,” he said. “It’s a small little test.”

And for the people who gave special family stones to the ahu, said Dedman, it was the beginning of once again feeling close to their palace.

“We lost a relationship with this palace,” he said. “Maybe this will make us close.”

“They can now bring their children and family here because their stones are here. This may be a reminder the separation no longer exists.”

“It’s alive in us. It’s really the beginning.”

The “Ahu” After Kaumakapili
by Rev. Kaleo Patterson.

The “ahu” or altar was built from “pohaku” or stones that came from all of the islands. It was an altar built by Hawaiians who have been arrested and evicted, people who have been systematically oppressed and persecuted because they have resisted the system. Hawaiians from the houseless communities of Hilo and Kings landing brought pohaku; families occupying land in Ka’u and Anahola came with their pohaku; families with loved ones in prison, or loved ones that have died, brought pohaku; those who resisted the bombing of Kaho’olawe and the destruction of the rainforest of Wao Kele O Puna, those who oppose the desecration of burial and sacred sites on every island, all brought pohaku; many brought pohaku; and then “mana,” the strong intentions and commitment, of those who brought pohaku were genuine and real.

It was upon this “ahu” that Dr. Sherry was asked to place the written text of the Apology, with the understanding that the Apology would be the sacrifice in which the “ahu” would be dedicated.

The dedication of the “ahu” took place while the night marchers concluded their march and the thousands of evening commemorationers witnessed the last act of the Queen’s dethronement.

There was nothing fancy or ceremonious to speak about. If anything it was a simple act of commitment and resolve. The participants were “maka’ainana” common folk. There was only a small group of twenty to thirty persons in attendance. Parley Kanakaole performed a traditional Hawaiian cleansing and dedication ceremony. A prayer was offered. Parley’s comparisons to Abraham and the Old Testament significance of altar and wells was helpful to the traditionalist and Christian concerns. Following the sacrifice of the Apology was the gift of white coral that Dr. Sherry had brought from the island of Maui the day before. The white coral symbolized the life that comes from the sea in creation, in the beginning.

When it was all over, Dr. Sherry embraced each person in attendance.

Soon after, the Dalai Lama chose the ahu at ‘Iolani Palace to have a public ceremony.

‘Onipa’a: Five Days in the History of the Hawaiian Nation
p. 74 – ‘Onipa’a Chair Tungpalan and Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell, Hawaiian sovereignty advocate of the organization Ka Pakaukau, share their mana’o as work on the ahu begins.

p. 75 – The ahu slowly grows as Palikapu o Kamohoali’i Dedman waits for more pohaku. This sacred altar was constructed as a symbol of the intent to heal the wounds between the maka’ainana and the ali’i and upon completion became a comfortable meeting palce for many Hawaiian groups.

Standing in black and white kihei is Hawaiian spiritual leader, the late Parley Kanaka’ole, who watches as spiritual offerings are presented at the ahu or altar that was erected on ‘Iolani Palace grounds.

p. 177 – Ho’okupu adorn the ahu upon its completion.

Kuahu Kihe Ka Mauli Ola –

Posted: Fri - February 24, 2006 at 12:26 AM    
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Published On: Feb 24, 2006 12:27 AM
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