OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Click above to watch Nā Hulu Lehua: The Royal Cloak & Helmet of Kalaniʻōpuʻu, a 25 minute film that documents the historic return of Kalaniʻōpuʻu's treasured ʻahu ʻula & mahiole.

The Return of the Royal Cloak & Helmet of Kalani‘ōpu‘u

In 1779, Kalaniʻōpuʻu, aliʻi nui of Hawaiʻi Island, greeted Capt. James Cook in Kealakekua Bay and draped his treasured ʻahu ʻula over the newcomer’s shoulders as a gesture of goodwill. While Cook himself would not leave Hawaiʻi, Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s feathered cape and mahiole sailed back to Europe with Cook’s crew, and ultimately ended up at the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

An unprecedented partnership between the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Bishop Museum and Te Papa with support from Hawaiian Airlines enabled the return of Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s priceless garments. In March 2016, a delegation from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Bishop Museum and Hawaiian Airlines traveled to Aotearoa to engage in protocol and return the ʻahuʻula and mahiole to Hawaiʻi.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs documented this awe-inspiring journey in the film, “Nā Hulu Lehua: The Royal Cloak and Helmet of Kalaniʻōpuʻu.” The 25-minute documentary shares the significance of high chief Kalaniʻōpuʻu, his mea kapu and the incredible partnerships that made their historic return home possible.

[Watch it now via this link]


Na Hulu Lehua D.C. screenings

Nā Hulu Lehua – The Royal Cloak & Helmet of Kalani‘ōpu‘u will be shown at these special community screenings:

Rasmuson Theater,
National Museum of the American Indian
Sat., May 20 & Sun., May 21, 2017, 2:00 p.m.
Fourth Street & Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20560
Phone: 202-633-1000
TTY (non-voice): 202-633-5285
(Event Flier)

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park  (Event Flier)
at Kahuku Unit Visitor Center on Friday, May 26, 2017.
Doors open at 9:30 a.m., Film starts at 10:00 a.m.
92-7400 Mamālahoa Highway, Nāʻālehu, Hawaiʻi 967222


Kalaniʻōpuʻu Inspires

The return of the ʻahuʻula and mahiole of high chief Kalaniʻōpuʻu has inspired different feelings and actions amongst those who have beared witness to the historic return. We invite you to share what Kalaniʻōpuʻu has inspired in you.

Mahalo for sharing your manaʻo on this historic return. Your manaʻo may be incorporated into promotional materials to help continue the cycle of inspiration.kalaniopuu-hr

Community Feedback

Kalaniʻōpuʻu Inspires …

By welcoming newcomers from the outside world with open arms, even going beyond that by bestowing upon Captain Cook his own ʻahu ʻula, Kalaniʻōpuʻu proved to be a shining example of the accepting nature that my people continue to convey. As a native Hawaiian I believe that it is because of him that, although it may not be as prevalent as it once was, my culture thrives among those who share the aloha spirit that he nurtured so long ago.
– Haʻili L., 15, Kihei

I was excited to see myself in the movie (I was at the Bishop Museum on the day the cloak and helmet arrived back home) and after watching this movie I want to trace my genealogy to find my ancestors.
– Logan A., 9, Kailua

Mahalo for your efforts in getting this treasure returned home and mahalo for sharing your story with us here in Kona. I was touched at the deepest level to my core.
– Paul B., 55, Pahoehoe

I had the opportunity to be at the dedication of this historical event last year at the Bishop Museum, which I’m a member of! My ʻohana from Kukuiopae, South Kona, Kohala, and Waipiʻo of Hawaiʻi Moku were also here.  My great grandmother was born and raised in the area where this historical event took place two centuries ago. The feeling of connection is there within our being. We were there to show and share our manaʻo, and most of all, our aloha nui!
– Lani A., 72, Waimānalo

I like learning about the Hawaiian culture in books or movies. It helps me understand the culture of Hawaii better. I moved here a few years ago, and I’m still trying to understand our culture surrounded by the sea.
– Dallin R., 9, Laie

See all responses

This story about Kalaniopu’u and the return of his garments can inspire people to give back to the communities what they were given. It can also not just be the inspiration for people to give back but nations all over the world hold sacred objects of other lands waiting to be returned. This can also be an inspiration for them to give back what their ancestors stole, or acquired in some way. – Aryeh G., 14, Kihei

hope and empowerment of the culture. I thought this video was beautiful, not just in the clear crisp shots but in the message as well. I feel lucky that we got to learn about this, it is very interesting and something completely new. This really makes me appreciate the Hawaiian culture and reminds me of its importance. I’m excited that we get to learn more, I will keep this message with me in my mind and heart as I learn more. – Makena R., 15, Kihei

hope and progress. This film doesn’t only show the restoration of Hawaiian culture, but it also shows what we can do when we come together. This film was so inspirational because I didn’t even know that this precious cloak was on the other side of the globe. This film inspires hope because bringing the cloak back restores our culture and preserves our history. It is important that this cloak is back because it is a big piece of Hawaiian history and it holds a lot of Mana. It also inspires progress because people in Hawaii came together and got that cloak and helmet back. They came together to show the importance of these things. They showed an important value that we miss in today’s politics. They showed that they can come together and communicate with others to get things done. They communicated with the New Zealand Museum and they came to an agreement that this piece of history must be in Hawaii. This was an amazing film. – Gabriel E., 15, Kihei

Cultural engagement & Emotional evocation. Seeing the overwhelming joy and great lengths the Hawaiian people felt and went to in order to return and preserve an integral part of their culture truly did make me happy and inspire me to look into and learn more about the culture we here in Hawaii are all a part of. I feel that having this wonderful artifact on display will inspire many to do the same and look into our complex and beautiful culture. – Logan J., 15, Pukalani

Hope. This video showing the return of the ‘ahu’ula and the mahiole brings a sensation of hope. Seeing the cloak and helmet being returned to the islands created a sense of hope because everyone was working together to help. I hope that like in the film, we can work together toward bringing the Hawaiian culture back into everyday life in Hawaii. – Hina C., 15, Kihei

me to learn more about the Hawaiian Culture. Before I watched this movie I did not even know who Kalaniʻōpuʻu was, I have only learned about King Kamehameha I and the monarchs afterword. I did not even have a clue what a ‘ahu ‘ula or a mahiole was. Watching this movie helped me understand how powerful history and artifacts can be for a culture, especially one that was trampled on by another culture. Just by watching the events in the movie about transferring ‘ahu ‘ula and mahiole from New Zealand to Hawaii, you can feel the power and spirit of the Hawaiian people finally bringing back an important part of Hawaiian history to the Hawaiian Islands. The video was truly empowering to watch, knowing that the Hawaiian culture is still living a prospering even in younger generations. – Victoria F., 14, Kihei

Empowerment and Culture. The return of Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s ʻahuʻula and mahiole opened the eyes of people everywhere. From the film, I could sense the empowerment Hawaiians and those involved felt as the ʻahuʻula and mahiole returned home. I too felt a similar feeling of joy to see the ʻahuʻula and mahiole brought back to Hawaii. Kalaniʻōpuʻu inspires the culture in helping more people learn and want to learn about the culture. Learning about the homecoming of his ʻahuʻula and mahiole makes me eager to visit the Bishop Museum. – Olivia, 14, Kihei

Bravery and strength. Because bringing back the Helmet and Cape to Hawaii shows that the Hawaiian culture is still alive and people still care greatly about it. With the return of the cape and the helmet, it shows the importance and historical significance to the Hawaiian culture. It is important that we protect these artifacts so that future generations can experience the Hawaiian culture and learn more about the past. – Shane B., 15, Makawao

me to visit the museum and learn more about the culture. Since I have lived in Hawaii for all of my life, it’s really interesting to see museums with history and artifact from ancient Hawaii. It also gives empowerment to the Hawaiians and brings back a piece of history and memories to the islands. It teaches non-Hawaiians about ancient history and what was lost during the modernization and annexation of Hawaii. – Kiyo C., 15, Kihei

Hope. Knowing that the ‘aha ‘ula made it back to Hawai’i after almost 300 years gives me hope that other pieces of culture can be found and returned home. – Jenna W., 15, Wailuku

Interest. Watching this film really got me more interested in finding out where I fit into the culture, or really where I live. After seeing this I want to know if there are more things Similar to the Cloak and Helmet that may also grant memories and happiness to other people. I am also now more interested in learning about the language since the ceremony was in full Hawaiian. I would like to partake in a ceremony of this kind myself one day. – Vukomir M., 16

Perservance and strength. because with his helmet and his cape, it shows that over thousands of years the Hawaiian culture is still thriving and is still alive. With the return of the cape and helmet to Oahu it returns the mana and it shares the historical importance to Hawaii and it’s people. These important artifacts are memories and treasures to the Hawaiian culture. It is important that they are protected and secured to make sure future generations see how ancient Hawaiian culture was and how much has changed throughout history. The return of the cape and the helmet is the revival of Hawaiian leadership and the revival of Hawaiian culture. – Natalie H., 15, Kahului

Bravery, Aloha, and Diligence. Kalaniopu’u inspires bravery and diligence because he led many battles in Hawaii to conquer parts of the Hawaii Islands, as a monarch. He inspires aloha by his acts of kindness toward foreigners such as Captain James Cook and his crew. When Cook arrived in Hawaii, he was greeted with fruits, lei, meat, and garments from the Hawaiian people. Kalaniopu’u gave Cook his royal ‘ahu’ula and mahiole, which took an incredibly long time to make and represented dedication and the spirit of Hawaii. This act was very generous of Kalaniopu’u because he gave his belongings that meant so much to him and his people, to a complete stranger. – Christine D., 14, Maui

The past is important. The reason I say this is because the ahu’ula and the mahiole are an important piece of Hawaiian history. Not only because the cloak and helmet were from a chief, but because the clothing have a special meaning to the people of Hawaii. – Chris A., 14, Maui

me to express the strength of the Hawaiian cultures. This movie was very inspirational, it showed many people together as they express their culture in their ceremonies. I could tell it was a very special time when the ‘ahu’ula and mahiole was brought back into Hawaiian lives. I couldn’t help but see how Hawaiian lives have changed over the years, but this ceremony just showed me that the Hawaiian culture is still there. – Davin F., 15, Maui

This Short Film Kalaniopu’u invigorates me to really look and gaze upon the Hawaiian culture. After watching your film, I have really been inspired to have much more respect towards the different cultures of the world and really learn about them and how they are unique. I have learned that culture and tradition needs and should be preserved. Preserving culture and tradition only invigorates the younger generations to learn about their culture and helps with carrying on the many traditions. – Paul H., 14, Maui

To me, the return of Kalaniopu’u’s ‘ahu’ula and mahiole inspires hope for the Hawaiian culture. This gives me hope because it shows that the Hawaiian culture is returning. – Pohaku K., 14, Maui

people to learn more about their history and that they how they can potentially help with it. I think that Kalaniopuu tells a story about how there are important things in history that should be treated with respect. I feel that one of the worst things to do is to take away a cultures history. Taking something that has no value to you but has value to a great many people because it is part of their history is the worst thing you can do to a culture. I was really inspired by this beautiful film and how much it inspired the people. – Trevor, 15

the ‘spirit of aloha.’ I believe that Kalaniʻōpuʻu himself isn’t the embodiment of the spirit of aloha, but it is his actions that inspire(d) the people of Hawai’i to act with aloha. By welcoming newcomers from the outside world with open arms, even going beyond that by bestowing upon Captain Cook his own ʻahu ʻula, he proved to be a shining example of the accepting nature that my people continue to convey. As a native Hawaiian I believe that it is because of him that, although it may not be as prevalent as it once was, my culture thrives among those who share the aloha spirit that he nurtured so long ago. P.S. Mahalo nui loa for educating those who have not had the privilege to learn about our culture, especially during a time where it continues to sadly fade away. – Haʻili L., 15, Kihei

me to do more for the Hawaiian culture. I will start off by saying I am not Hawaiian, but have lived on Maui for 9 years now. I have learned a lot about Hawaiian history and have volunteered on Kaho’olawe twice now. This video moved me because you didnt see older people doing the work to keep the culture alive. You saw the youth, the next generation doing the work. I loved the man’s speech where he was talking about the ʻahuʻula not just being a pair of clothes, but the chiefs of the Kingdom of Hawaii wore them, and that the helmet represented various things. Thats why it moved me. Mahalo. – Hobbes W., 15, Maui

me to learn more about the Hawaiian culture and help to restore it. I do not have Hawaiian heritage, but I was inspired by this video. I was born and raised in Maui, so I have been around the culture my whole life. I still feel like I could learn more about the culture. I was inspired by this video to learn about the Hawaiian culture and work to keep it alive. It is important that we do not forget the Hawaiian culture because the culture is what makes Hawaii so unique. Without the Hawaiian culture, Hawaii would not have it’s same sacred feeling. – Chloe L., 15, Maui

me to help and find out more about the Hawaiian culture and why it was so important. I am personally not a Hawaiian, nor have Hawaiian ancestors, although this movie inspired me since I love the Hawaiian culture, and support it. It was amazing to hear about the journey that everyone made, to bring back an important part that was lost for a long time. This shows how much care everyone put into finding it, and focusing on bringing it back, since it seems to be the basis of how Hawaii was, as it began to come together as ‘one island.’ Not only that but, the culture itself is shown in this video, helped me (as it will help other people) to understand about why it was important to go and bring it back. Thank you very much for making this and for bringing a part of many back to its home in Hawaii! – Jessica P., 14, Kihei

me to want to connect with the culture of the island that I live on more. I do not have any Hawaiian heritage. But this movie was very moving to me. I grew up on the island of Maui, and have become a part of the Hawaiian culture. This movie makes me want to be even more involved with the islands of Hawaii, and it motivates me to be more active in reviving the Hawaiian culture. This event, brought back a missing piece of this culture, and empowered the people of Hawaii. This includes me, there is apart of me that is very much connected to this culture, and this event was so empowering, that I want to find opportunities to connect, or help revive the Hawaiian culture, with this generation. As well as continuing to revive the Hawaiian culture. – Maile C., 14, Kihei

me to be more aware of the Hawaiian culture. I am not Hawaiian. When I watched this video it opened the eyes to what the Hawaiians actually care for. What I found out is that they have a deep love for there culture, and a even deeper love for there ali’i. I thought that it was amazing that a group of dedicated Hawaiians, would do this whole thing just to get a cape, and royal helmet. This really moved me because it shows how deep the Hawaiians’ love is for the preservation of their culture. I loved this because it was well made, and culturally rich. – Nikori K., 14, Kihei

me to embrace the Hawaiian culture and the spirit of aloha it carries. I am not of Hawaiian ancestry, however, I found this video to be an inspiring in a sense that it made me want to learn more about the Hawaiian culture. I have lived in the islands for the very high majority of my life, and it makes me sad to say that I don’t know a lot of things. Although, I am happy that the perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture as a whole has increased. – Kylie R., 14, Kihei

Hawaiian youth. I believe that this video inspires the Hawaiian youth and just all Hawaiians in general that care about their culture as it really gives them more reason to spread it. This leads to the growing of Hawaiian culture and that is a good thing today as the culture is shrinking. Bringing the mahiole and the cape back to Hawaii gives more incentive for people to learn about the culture. – Mitchell, 14, Maui

me to learn more about the Hawaiian culture. The Hawaiian culture to me is one of the most interesting histories in the world with legends and events that happened. I have lived on Maui my whole life, i do have a little bit of Hawaiian blood in me. So my father teaches me a lot about the history. so the video inspires me to learn about Hawaii. – Jeffrey, 15, Maui

Kalaniʻōpuʻu showed me the importance of the Hawaiian culture. This video is an inspiration to me even though I don’t have Hawaiian ancestry, however, even though I don’t know everything about the Hawaiian culture yet. It showed the importance of bringing such a precious thing back to Hawaii as well as the journey it made to get here. With everyone working together and wanting to bring it back shows us how we can all work together to make something happen. Watching the video made it more clear on how important things are to the Hawaiians and how amazing it is. I found it very interesting to watch and thank you for sharing it with all of us. – Kaleigh T., 16, Kihei

me to connect to my culture more. I have Hawaiian heritage. This movie was very motivating and moving. It really opened my eye to really see the importance of the cloak and helmet. It shows me how people really felt about the return of the cloak and helmet. It is not just clothing it represents the first contact of the westerners. It also represents the ali’i nui who trained Kamehameha who brought the islands together. This movie motivated me to see what I can do to connect more with my culture, spiritually and physically. – Rebecca A., 14, Kihei

me to learn more about the Hawaiian culture. This video has inspired me to be to learn more about the Hawaiian culture because if these people did all of these things to get the ‘ahu’ ula and mahiole of the high chief Kalani’opu’u, what else will they be willing to do to get other ancient Hawaiian artifacts. I am not Hawaiian at all, but watching this video of people who were so committed to get these two artifacts. It has inspired me to learn more about important Hawaiian people and what impact they have on Hawaii. – Kendrew O., 14, Wailuku

Appreciation. I am a Caucasian youth from Texas. However this film inspired appreciation of the Hawaiian culture. It struck the feeling up because of these ahu’ula and mahiole are representations  of the culture that was taken from Hawai’i. Returning it represents the reprisal of a dying culture. This gives me appreciation of a returning spirit. – George W., 15, Kihei

Tradition. I was adopted in 1982. My birth mother and family is Hawaiian. We connected around 2002. I am still just learning my/our heritage. This is so very touching. To learn my “ohana” is so rich in history is priceless.  – Cassandra P., 34, Orlando

me to be more proud of being Hawaiian. – Anela, 22, Haleiwa

Our kanaka maoli were very good people with lots of love and aloha and it is so cool how strong our mana is that chief Kalani’opu’u’s cloak and helmet had find its way home…I love my people and our culture, I’m mixed race but I love my kanaka koko more than any of my national race. – Hanale Y., 40, Lahaina

to live with aloha. by highlighting the Hawaiian culture and showing the craftsmanship, respect and unity that goes into all that nature can provide. It embraces what aloha is and how to live it. – Amber, 34, Nuuanu

a love of my culture and history.  Hearing the story of the return of these treasured items not only brings history to life, it makes me grateful for the understanding of the Maori that allowing the ‘ahu’ula and mahiole to be in Hawai’i is pono. Mahalo to OHA and all who made this happen. – Moana, Kapolei

me to trace my genealogy. I was excited to see myself in the movie (I was at the Bishop Museum on the day the cloak and helmet arrived back home) and after watching this movie I wanted to trace my genealogy to find my ancestors. – Logan A., 9, Kailua

Imua. Maikaʻi nō. Mahalo nui loa. I had always thought this Beautiful Hawaiian hulu cloak went to England. I am so thankful and grateful to know it has come home. The giving of this cloak symbolizes the true aloha that our King Kalaniʻōpuʻu felt and represented what Hawaiʻi and Hawaiians were and are about. – Lupua, 59, Kaʻū

to continue and increase my efforts to speak (learn) Hawaiian language. Mahalo for your efforts in getting this treasure returned home and mahalo for sharing your story with us here in Kona. I wish more people (especially Hawaiians) could have known about this presentation and attended. I was touched at the deepest level to my core. Also mahalo nui loa to the Maori people for their aloha and understanding (as a native people) just how important something like this is. – Paul B., 55, Pahoehoe

It has moved me to continue educating the community about Polynesian culture. The cape and helmet is a beautiful work of art. I would like to learn this technique. I am glad that it made it back home to Hawaii. – Kalena, Arizona

me to learn more about the Hawaiian culture and makes me proud to live here. – Janet, 61, Punaluu

I had the opportunity to be at the dedication of this historical event last year at the Bishop Museum, which I’m a member of!  My ʻohana from Kukuiopae, South Kona, Kohala, and Waipiʻo of Hawaiʻi Moku were also here.  My Great Grandmother was born and raised in the area where this historical event took place two centuries ago. The feeling of connection is there within our being. We were there to show and share our manaʻo, and most of all, our aloha nui! – Lani A., 72, Waimānalo

me to aloha aina, to aloha my ohana, to pay homage and honor my ancestors and our ways. I am Canadian Indian, representing two tribes on my father’s side, the Haida and Tsimshian Nations. On my mother’s side we are Hawaiian. I am directly descended from Kalaniʻōpuʻu via his son Keoua Peeale. Kalaniʻōpuʻu is my 7th Great Grandfather and my heart is happy for the return of my grandfathers ‘Ahu’ula and Mahiole. Mahalo Te Atua for guiding these sacred ancestors home. Mahalo to the warriors that made the journey in order to accompany the ancestors. Brothers, sisters, uncles and aunties, Mahalo for all your prayers and ceremony. – Makana A., 29, Maui

to learn about Kamehameha. To learn more about this Hawaiian village. – Safiya T., 9, Laie

me because he respects our culture and he keeps everyone safe back then. Why Kalani’opu’u inspires me is because he loved everyone and he show respect to our island. – Talalelei, 9, Laie

me because Kalaniʻōpuʻu made us be one nation. He made games to bring nations together and he was chief. – Koko, 9, Laie

it is cool that they found his cape. Because he has to used 400,000,000 feathers and he helped the island for people of the Hawaiian village. – Kainui, 9, Kahana

me to look for those tiny birds. Why he inspiers me about Hawaiian culture is the little birds so you keep your eyes peeled for those little little birds that are only one inch and the 4,000,000 feathers. -Kennon, 9

me to learn more about the capes. A cape that took forever to make they took the feathers from birds and they only took one from each bird. – Ambrose, 9, Laie

me to learn more about the history about Hawaiians. I wanna learn more about Hawaiian history, because it looks fascinating and the legends are fun to listen to, it makes me wanna stay here forever and learn how to speak Hawaiian. It is espacially fun to go on the gathering island in Hawaii and live there. – Amerie, 9, Kaʻaʻawa

me by urging me to be a better leader. Kalaniopu’u inspires me to also be kind. HE inspires me to share my culture. – Vaea, 9, Laie

me because he is a good person and Kalani is my name. -Kalani, 9, Laie

me to learn more about my culture. It makes me want to know my cultures and where I came from. – Hirirau, 9

me to learn about King Kamehamehaʻs history. I love Hawaiian history and legends. I am happy about history. – Bobbi B., 9

me to want to learn about Hawaiian history. I felt inspired to learn about Hawaii and Hawaiian history. This movie was very interesting. I learned a lot about Hawaiian culture. – Acyra, 9

me to learn how the Hawaiians did in the past. I learned that it takes 1,000,000 feathers to make the cape and helmet. – Tamahei T., 10

me to learn more, I felt really inspired about it to learn about Hawaiian history. – Jaychelle A., 9

me to be like him when Iʻm older. Once I got a brand new toy but one of my friends were leaving so I gave him it to remind him of me. – Jetlee P., 10

me because I like learning about things long ago and about Hawaiian and other cultures. I really think that the movie was cool and I learned that the royal cloak and helmet is special to a lot of people and that people took good care of it. – Halahuni, 10, Laie

it inspires me to go and make things. – Marquis L., 10, Hauula

me because i want to learn more about Hawaiians. I love to learn about cultures and how people lived and some activities. I love to learn about food and different people. In the video it showed me how people can come together. – Ivy M., 9 ½

me because I want to learn about the Hawaiians. I really want to learn about how they make the feather clothes. – Kingston, 9, Laie

me to try to learn Hawaiian. It makes me feel like I belong here in Hawaii and no where else in the world. – Josiah, 10, Laie

about our Polynesian culture. This video was really inspiring to me in my heart. Especially since I’m Polynesian. I felt that the helmet and cape of Kalaniopu’u is really important. I just thought that the video was really beautiful. I loved the video and hope to see another one like it. I’m glad I watched it. 🙂 – Eden M., 9, Laie

me to watch more Hawaii history videos. I like learning about the Hawaiian culture in books or movies. It helps me understand the culture of Hawaii better. I moved here a few years ago, and I’m still trying to understand our culture surrounded by the sea. – Dallin R., 9, Laie

me cause it respects cultures. It was a nice video. – Enjoli T., 9, Hauula

you to do things that he did and more. It moves your heart for Hawaii culture. – Alissa M., 9, Haula

me to work hard. What I watched was a miracle 4,000,000 feathers that’s crazy. So it makes me want to work harder. – Leyton, 10, Laie

Homecoming and Hope. A cycle has come to an end and the goodwill of the chief brought the holy items home again. – Katrin, 48, Atlanta

–Letter from a malihini who attended the Hilo film screening event–

Dr Crabbe:

My wife and I are Canadians visiting Hawai’i (the Big Island) for the second time. Whenever we travel, we try to live as the “locals” do and absorb as much of the culture as we can.

When we first came to Hawai’i, I thought that aloha meant “hello” and mahalo “thank you”. Gradually we have begun to understand that aloha is a value – that of unconditional love and the giving and receiving of the spirit. Mahalo is also a value – gratefulness as a way of living. Similarly, we have learned that hana is work, ohana is family or the complete circle of aloha and that ho’ohana is to work with passion, purpose and aloha.

Last evening, my wife and I had the opportunity to attend the showing of  Nā Hulu Lehua: The Royal Cloak & Helmet of Kalaniʻōpuʻu at the Palace theatre in Hilo. The film and your presentation were very moving and conveyed a wonderful example of the above mentioned values. We both agreed that somehow the film and presentation made us feel more spiritually connected with you and your fellow Hawaiians. As a scientist, I often try to rationalize feelings that are spiritual in nature. Perhaps these spiritual “connections” strike a cord in the “genetic memory” of the very DNA we all share!

Museums and private collectors hoard spiritual treasures that were often stolen from indigenous peoples around the globe. We thank you for your ho’ohana over the past years and pray your example serves to teach others that working with aloha will result in the return of such treasures to their rightful owners.

Mahalo

Tony Peirce

kalaniopuu-hrIn 1779, the reigning chief of Hawai‘i Island, Kalani‘ōpu‘u, who traced his regal line to the great chief Līloa of Waipiʻo, greeted an English captain named James Cook after his ship made port in Kealakekua Bay. As a demonstration of his goodwill, Kalani‘ōpu‘u gifted the ‘ahu ʻula (feathered cloak) and mahiole (feathered helmet) he was wearing to Captain Cook. Now, this storied ‘ahu ‘ula and mahiole will return together to its home islands for the first time since it left its shores on Cook’s ship 237 years ago. From a historical perspective, the artifacts represent a period in the timeline of Hawai‘i when there was a balance between the cultural, political and spiritual parts of the Native Hawaiian and the environment. In a partnership between the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), The National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the ‘ahu ‘ula and mahiole of Kalani‘ōpu‘u will make its monumental journey in March 2016 to be displayed at Bishop Museum in Honolulu, O‘ahu. “We are very proud to be working together to make the return of the ‘ahu ‘ula and mahiole possible. This historic collaboration is celebrated among each of our organizations as we transfer, receive, and care for these pieces, and continue in a tradition of mutual respect among the cultures of the Pacific,” said representatives from OHA, Te Papa Tongarewa, and Bishop Museum in a joint statement. “We are thrilled and honored to be able to return these treasures home to Hawai‘i, and into the care of the Bishop Museum,” said Rick Ellis, chief executive of Te Papa Tongarewa. “When they are shared with the people of Hawai‘i, I am sure they will inspire some wonderful conversations and insights, as they did when displayed here in Aotearoa New Zealand.” The feathered cloak and helmet have great extrinsic value, but more importantly, they possess great intrinsic and spiritual significance. For Native Hawaiians, the ‘ahu ‘ula, mahiole, and all other featherwork were reserved exclusively for the use of their ali‘i (royalty), symbolizing their chiefly divinity, rank and power. It embodied the life essence of a thriving abundant environment which are the telltale signs of leadership, as it takes a healthy forest ecosystem to produce enough bird feathers and cordage to make these regal pieces. From a historical perspective, the artifacts represent a period in the timeline of Hawai‘i when there was a balance between the cultural, political and spiritual parts of Native Hawaiians and the environment. kalaniopuu-hr 20,000 birds captured and released. 500,000 feathers lashed one-by-oneThe construction of featherwork in ancient Hawai‘i required an incredible amount of labor and craftsmanship. This ‘ahu ‘ula in particular has feathers from about 20,000 birds. Skilled trappers caught the birds by employing various techniques such as snaring their prey midair with nets, or using decoy birds to lure them onto branches coated with a sticky substance. They often harvested only a few feathers from each bird before releasing them back into the wild so they could produce more feathers. Skilled workers belonging to the aliʻi class crafted the olonā cordage backing, a netting used as the foundation for the cloak, onto which the bundles of feathers were attached, creating bold designs. After the ‘ahu ‘ula and mahiole left on Cook’s ship, both were taken to England and passed through the hands of various museum owners and collectors. They eventually came under the care of the Lord St Oswald, who unexpectedly presented his entire collection in 1912 to the Dominion Museum in New Zealand, the predecessor of Te Papa Tongarewa. The cloak and helmet have been in the national collection ever since. In 2013, discussions began among the Bishop Museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, and OHA to bring these treasures back to Hawai‘i, culminating in this significant homecoming. “I’m grateful to witness the return of these cultural heirlooms, and how it is being made possible by the kōkua of many in both New Zealand and Hawaiʻi,” said Kamana‘opono Crabbe, Ka Pouhana of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. “The return of the ʻahu ʻula and mahiole to Hawaiʻi is a cause for celebration and it will be a source of inspiration, reflection and discussion among Hawaiʻi residents and visitors alike.” In support of the artifacts’ return, Hawaiian Airlines will transport the feathered cape and helmet aboard a flight marking the carrier’s third anniversary of its route between Auckland, New Zealand, and Honolulu, Hawai‘i on March 13. It will be returning home to the Hawaiian archipelago at that same time of the year 237 years later at a time when Native Hawaiians are making strides in the health and well-being of their people“The ‘Ahu ‘ula and Mahiole are priceless works of artistry, made with skilled hands and imbued with aloha befitting that of Kalani‘ōpu‘u. Hawaiian Airlines is privileged to serve as the carrier to return these chiefly possessions back to the people of Hawai’i,” said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, community relations director at Hawaiian Airlines. The ʻahu ʻula and mahiole of Kalaniʻōpuʻu will then be on long-term loan from Te Papa Tongarewa for at least 10-years. To receive the ‘ahu ‘ula and mahiole, a private ceremony – Ka Ho‘i ‘Ana o Nā Wehi Makamae o Hawai‘i: the return of the cloak and helmet of ali‘i nui Kalani‘ōpu‘u – will be held on March 17. The ʻahu ʻula and mahiole of Kalaniʻōpuʻu will be exhibited to the public at Bishop Museum on the island of O‘ahu starting on March 19. “Bishop Museum is honored to be the institution charged with the care of these cultural treasures and to be the recipient of these mea makamae (treasures) from Te Papa Tongarewa,” said Blair D. Collis, president & CEO of Bishop Museum. “The exhibit space at Bishop Museum will be called ‘He Nae Ākea: Bound Together.’ This reflects the connection of Kalaniʻōpuʻu to his land and people, the connection between the peoples, nations, and cultures throughout the centuries who have cared for these treasures, as well as the connection between the three institutions directly involved in this loan. It is only as a result of all of these ties that we have arrived where we are today.”

“These priceless treasures have so much to tell us about our shared Pacific history. We are honored to be able to return them home, to reconnect them with their land and their people,” said Arapata Hakiwai, Kaihautū (Māori co-leader) of Te Papa Tongarewa. “Woven into these taonga (treasures) is the story of our Pacific history, with all its beauty, challenges and complexity. When I see these treasures, I’m reminded about the whakatauki or proverb used during the highly successful international exhibition ‘Te Māori’ – ‘He Toi Whakairo, He Mana Tangata’: ‘Where there is artistic excellence, there is human dignity.’”

“The ʻahu ʻula and mahiole left their homeland at the end of the season of Lono in 1779 and the memory they hold in their very fiber is that of a healthy, abundant, sovereign society,” said Mehanaokalā Hind, director of community engagement with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and a lineal descendant of Kalani‘ōpu‘u. “They will be returning home to the Hawaiian archipelago in that same season of the year 237 years later, at a time when Native Hawaiians are making strides in the health and well-being of their people. They will serve as a physical reminder to help guide Native Hawaiians in their pursuit of a thriving society.”

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Office of Hawaiian Affairs Bishop Museum Te Papa Hawaiian Airlines

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