By: Kainoa Horcajo, Office of Rep. Mele Carroll
On Wednesday, March 19, the morning sunshine dawned over the outer walls of the capitol building to illuminate a once-a-year sight of Hawaiian practitioners, non-profit organizations, agencies, and groups benefiting the Hawaiian culture circling the third and fourth floor lanais of the State Capitol.
The 3rd annual Legislative Hawaiian Caucus Day brought together lawmakers and the public to gather information from the various display tables while being serenaded by "Da Mele Trio" and "Lokomaika'i," two of the islands greatest Hawaiian music groups.
Rep. Mele Carroll (D- Paia, Haiku, Keanae, Hana, Moloka‘i, Kalaupapa, Lana'i, and Kaho‘olawe), Chair of the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus, was honored by her colleagues before the festivities for her work in making the event a success and drawing a wide array of the Hawaiian people together.
"What a beautiful day to be at the Legislature. Hawaiians were out in force, educating, playing music, and the State Legislators and public were enjoying themselves," said Rep. Carroll.
The participants included Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission; Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce; Partners in Development; Prince Kuhio Federal Credit Union; Hawaii Maoli; Molokai Community Health Center; Pacific American Foundation; Alu Like; Kamehameha Schools; Kahea; and The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance.
Demonstrations of traditional arts and practices included feather-making by Kumu Kaha'i Topolinskys, coconut-plaiting by Pearl Harbor Hawaiian Civic Clubs, beautiful pahu drum-making by John Keoni Turadas, and poi-pounding by taro farmers.
Two floor presentations during the Legislative session recognized the work and success of a few of Hawaii's residents dedicated to preserving and advancing the Hawaiian culture. Rep. Mele Carroll honored Cliff Hashimoto, a Hana resident, who achieved the rank of Ali'i Nui and Grand Master, the highest honor bestowed upon a member of The Royal Order of Kamehameha. Hashimoto, a Kamehameha School's graduate and retired First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, is now the head of one of the oldest societies in the islands. Rep. Angus McKelvey (D-Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua, Maalaea, Kihei) honored the 2007 Grammy Award Winners of the Hawaiian Music category.