Last month, dozens of Lanai residents gathered at the administration building for Queen Liliuokalani’s 181st birthday celebration. This festive event is held every September to honor the legacy of Hawaii’s last reigning monarch and offers a chance for the community to eat delicious food, listen to music, shop and engage in cultural activities.
The event is hosted by the Queen Liliuokalani Trust, an organization working to ensure the well-being of native Hawaiian children and their ohana. With kipuka (locations) on nearly every island, the trust serves Hawaii’s children and families through various projects and programs.
“This celebration helps to bring awareness for our Queen and what she has done for the Hawaiian people,” said Kehau Padilla, a social worker for the trust, who coordinated the Queen’s birthday celebration on Lanai. “Celebrations like these also bring the community together as a source of pride and a chance to highlight Hawaiian culture and values.”
Engaging youth in business and culture
This year’s event included a lemonade stand hosted by 6th–8th graders from the trust’s Pili Mai program. The booth provided keiki a chance to learn about entrepreneurship as they distributed their lemonade and handed out surveys asking customers for feedback on their different mixtures and customer service. The young entrepreneurs will continue their business research this semester around town.
Another student group, the Youth Leadership Council, demonstrated how to kui kalo, or smash and break the kalo, and handed out samples for residents to try. Other cultural activities included a group from LHES who set up a Hawaiian language booth, which displayed a children’s book about speaking the Hawaiian language.
In addition to the student groups, booths of art, jewelry and poi filled the grounds. Attendees sampled free kalua pig and cabbage, rice and lomi salmon. A team from Na Puuwai also attended the fair to distribute healthy snacks, promote healthy living and introduce their services to the community.
Programs for the community
For almost 10 years, Padilla has been working for the trust out of the Koolaupoko kipuka and Lanai’s office. She says the trust works to perpetuate the Queen’s legacy by providing opportunities for native Hawaiians, including youth development programs, case management, counselling, ohana strengthening, grief support and other education programs statewide. “Our main goal is to stop the cycle of poverty for our Hawaiian people. Of course, we want to start with the children.”
The trust has been working with the Limu Restoration Project to bring families down to the farm to volunteer and learn about limu growing techniques. There are also various programs for residents centered around financial literacy and entrepreneurship, which are hosted by the trust and partner organizations.
The next workshop, Maoli-preneur, is on small business strategy. In partnership with Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and Hiamana, this workshop will offer a chance for residents to explore topics of entrepreneurship. It will be held from 5:30–8:30 p.m. on October 25, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. on October 26, and 9 a.m.–3 p.m. on October 27.
For more information about the Liliuokalani Trust and its programs, or to sign up for Maoli-preneur, visit Padilla at the administrative building or contact her at 808-224-9193 or firstname.lastname@example.org.