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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Film on Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s treasures will be screened for free in Kapolei on Saturday

HONOLULU (March 10, 2017) – The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) will host a free public screening of its film on the historic return of Chief Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s sacred cloak and helmet this Saturday at Ka Makana Aliʻi in Kapolei.

In 1779, during the season of Makahiki, Capt. James Cook landed in Kealakekua Bay on the island of Hawaiʻi. In a diplomatic gesture of goodwill, Hawaiʻi chief Kalaniʻōpuʻu gifted his ʻahu ʻula (cloak) and mahiole (helmet) to Cook. While Cook was later killed in Kealakekua in 1779, the chief’s cloak and helmet sailed to Europe with Cook’s crew, and ultimately ended up at the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

For 237 years, Kalaniōpuʻu’s belongings remained separated from Hawaiʻi. Then, in March 2016, through a partnership between OHA, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, Bishop Museum and with support from Hawaiian Airlines, these treasured symbols of mana and excellence in Hawaiian artisanship were returned to Hawaiʻi. It was a historic event that captured the attention of millions of people around the world.

Now, nearly a year after the cultural treasures were returned to Hawaiʻi, OHA is sharing a 25-minute documentary called Nā Hulu Lehua: The Royal Cloak & Helmet of Kalaniʻōpuʻu. Produced by a team of indigenous filmmakers, the film tells the story of Kalaniʻōpuʻu and his mea kapu (sacred items), their amazing journey home and the cultural awakening that greeted them.

“The inspirational film is a way for OHA to promote and share Native Hawaiian culture, as well as highlight the incredible things that can happen when people join together for a common purpose,” said OHA Ka Pouhana Kamanaʻopono Crabbe. “As more and more people watch the film, we hear their stories of how the film has inspired them to connect with Hawaiian culture by learning ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, Hawaiian history, Hawaiian feather work, family genealogy, and so much more.”

Nā Hulu Lehua chronicles a number of events inspired by the return of the items. At the celebration event at Bishop Museum on March 17, 2016, kumu hula Snowbird Bento and her hālau performed the hula manō (shark dance) that is believed to have been last performed more than 200 years ago. Scholar and kumu hula Pua Kanahele created an original chant for Kalaniʻōpuʻu to mark his return. And thousands have visited Bishop Museum, where the treasures are on display, to pay homage to the chief.

The documentary will be screened Saturday, March 11, at ʻŌlino by Consolidated Theatres at Ka Makana Aliʻi in Kapolei. Doors will open at 10 a.m., and the film will start at 10:30 a.m.  The program will open with hālau Nā Pualei o Likolehua performing a hula manō.  Seating is first come, first served.

Additional upcoming film screenings include:

Hawaiʻi International Film Festival Spring Showcase (Event Flier)
Sunday, April 2, 2017, 3 p.m.
Regal Dole Cannery Stadium & IMAX Theatres
For tickets, visit https://hiff.org/.

Kapalua, Maui: Saturday, April 15, 2017 
(Event Flier)
25th Annual Celebration of the Arts
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Theatre, 11 a.m. – new time
Contact: OHA Main Office (808) 594-1888

Merrie Monarch Screening at ʻImiloa (Event Flier)
Wednesday, April 19, 2017. 11 a.m. – new date and time
600 Imiloa Pl., Hilo, HI 96720

Those who are unable to attend a film screening in person are invited to watch the film online and share their feedback at oha.org/kalaniopuu.


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