WAIMEA — The Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders Association’s fifth Annual Kuhio Ball will take place from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. April 1 at Pukalani Stables. The event is held in honor of Prince Kuhio Kalanianaole, whose love for the land and the Hawaiian people inspired him to spearhead the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921.
The ball is a showcase for the holoku, a long-sleeved, yoked, flowing dress worn by Hawaiian royalty after the arrival of the missionaries in 1820, which is an icon for a historic turning point in Hawaiian history. When Hiram Bingham and his entourage arrived in Kawaihae on the American brig, Thaddeus, they were greeted among others by King Kamehameha’s widows, Kalakua and Namahana.
Impressed by the attire of the missionary wives, and in possession of fabric gleaned from the sandalwood trade, Kalakua insisted that they sew dresses for her and Namahana. During the journey from Kawaihae to Kailua-Kona, the missionary wives got busy sewing.
When Kalakua and Namahana came ashore in Kailua-Kona to trumpeting conch shells and chanting, Kalakua was dressed in a splendorous white cambric dress and cap. The holoku became known as a symbol of Hawaiian royalty and the holoku ball a way to display their beauty and elegance.
King Kalakaua, friend and classmate of Samuel Parker, was a regular visitor to Mana, where some of the first holoku balls were held.
“The balls started in Waimea during Kalakaua’s time. The royal families started coming because there were royal families here. They had these balls in Mana by the horse corrals,” said WHHA president Micah…
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