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Hawaiʻi, Host of the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture

Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Nuhou Hawaii published on April 21, 1874.

Aloha Nūhou Monday!

Dear Reader,

This week’s post honors Hawaiʻi which, in 2024, will be the 13th nation to host the Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture. The Festival will be held in Honolulu, under the theme, “Hoʻoulu Lāhui: Regenerating Oceania.”

Over the past months, we have honored each of the previous FestPAC hosts with posts featuring those island nations and their connections to Hawaiʻi’s own history. The Hawaiʻi delegation was received with immeasurable warmth and hospitality by its previous host nations. Long-anticipated, Hawaiʻi will celebrate the 13th festival on Oʻahu beginning in just a few more days.

The Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture is the world’s largest celebration of Indigenous Pacific Islanders, bringing together artists, cultural practitioners, scholars, and officials from member nations of the Pacific Community (SPC). This traveling festival is held every four years and was first launched by the South Pacific Commission in 1972 to halt the erosion of traditional practices through ongoing cultural exchange.

Amid the rapid decrease of the Hawaiian population in the late 19th century, King Kalākaua instituted “Hoʻoulu Lāhui” as an initiative to increase the nation and people. This became a fundamental principle that was carried out in Kalākaua’s reign that aimed to bring a resurgence to the Hawaiian nation. As previous sovereigns recognized, Kalākaua saw the urgent need to address these issues to ensure his people would survive and flourish.

The newspaper article comes from Nuhou, where Walter Murray Gibson describes the diligent initiative to increase the nation and people. He offers possibilities of how the government could execute such a national endeavor.

Image: Record of places Queen Kapiʻolani stopped at on her tour to encourage Hoʻōla Lāhui. ʻAhahui Hoʻoulu a Hoʻōla Lāhui Papers, 1877-1907, Kalanianaʻole Collection. Bishop Museum Archives.

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact, Bishop Museum Archives.

Image: “Ka Hooulu Lahui,” Ka Nuhou Hawaii, April 21, 1874, p. 1

Increasing The Nation.

Hoʻoulu Lāhui is the main platform for the King’s administering the nation, in all his travels to meet the populace, he would give his royal speeches and commands that parents take care of their children and for the people to put effort into increasing the nation.

Within us has been placed a great desire for the nation to revive and grow by the King’s joining in the effort to regrow the nation. This is an important matter, and complex indeed. However, with perseverance, it will be fulfilled. There is no other task greater, just this; and the conviction of sentiments for aliʻi and nationalism encourage us to carry out these great efforts which will strengthen the foundation of independence of these Islands. This undertaking will create a firm foundation for these islands’ independence. It is well that parents take care of their children from their infancy until they grow big; that is also something that will largely increase the nation.

When searching for ways in which the nation will grow and increase, it is a complex thing, but we must first consider the many various causes for an increase, and from there choose wisely. We have been fixed on the idea of authorizing Hawaiian kahuna to treat us Hawaiians, except those who are idolators, because these kahuna have some knowledge and medicines that can cure the sick. That is a means of growing the nation.

We have hope for another idea, that is for the government to undertake and care for some young men and women, arranging their marriage and setting aside a [house] lot for them, and providing them occupations; constantly monitoring them. This however is something not so feasible since our country has accrued much national debt, we should not simply spend money.

A good idea of ours is to grant parcels from the crown lands to people who are taking care of children of three or greater, as an incentive for parents to vigilantly care for their kids.

The major idea behind revival is caring for one’s health. We have a great desire that commissioners be selected in every district, where they would overlook the livelihood of every family, and the law will regulate the care. Those who are adept in health care will be the commissioners for this plan, like policemen, and for the families that are resistant to following the rules of preserving their well-being, they will be brought forth in the court of law, or in front of the father of Hoʻoulu Lāhui, the King, and the King will regulate.

It is excellent to give careful thought to this, and it is a celebrated practice around the world; and it must be done with everyone working at it. And if the reason behind growth is clear, then the same is to be done in other parts of the archipelago, and we must all remain steadfast so the motto of the Kalākaua reign will endure, “E Hoʻoulu Lāhui.”

Image: Women with kapa beaters, Hawaiʻi. Bishop Museum Archives, SP 86428

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact, Bishop Museum Archives.

Image: “Na Lani Hooulu Lahui Elua.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, July 7, 1899, p. 1

This post is part of He Aupuni Palapala: Preserving and Digitizing the Hawaiian Language Newspapers, a partnership between Bishop Museum and Awaiaulu with assistance from Kamehameha Schools. Mahalo nui loa to Hawaii Tourism Authority for their support. Learn more about this project here.

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