Tag Archives: Kohala

Flowers for King Kamehameha

The statue of King Kamehameha in Kapaau, Hawaii, is decorated with leis on his birthday
The statue of King Kamehameha in Kapaau, Hawaii, is decorated with leis on his birthday

June 11 was King Kamehameha Day in Hawaii, celebrating the birthday of the king who first united the Hawaiian Islands under one rule. The day is marked by parades and ceremonies in several places, including here in North Kohala, which is where King Kamehameha was born. The past couple of years, the ceremonies didn’t take place because of Covid restrictions, so this year’s event was the first since then.

I was working on the day, but after work I stopped by to see his statue, which was draped in leis during the ceremonies. It seemed like there was even more floral decoration this year than in previous events, making for a colorful spectacle. But even more striking than the color was the wonderful aroma from the profusion of plumeria flowers in the leis.

The leis are left in place for two or three days before they’re removed. Even when I was there on the first day, some of the flowers were starting to wilt.

Milkfish at Lahuipua’a Fishpond gate

Milkfish congregate at Lahuipua'a fishpond gate at Mauna Lani Hawaii
A sign next to Lahuipua'a Fishpond at Mauna Lani, Hawaii

Fishponds were places where the early Hawaiians used to raise fish for consumption. Lahuipua’a Fishpond at Mauna Lani is a very large pond which holds many Milkfish. Awa is their Hawaiian name.

These Milkfish were congregated at the entrance gate, no doubt hoping for someone to open it and let them out. The gates can be used for either purpose, but the idea of the ponds is that small fish can enter, but as they get bigger, they can’t get out. The fish in the top photo are far too big to escape through the grill.

There is another way out, as the sign in the second photo notes. Jacks and barracudas sometimes manage to get into the pools and will feed on the juvenile fishes. There are supposedly a couple of very large barracudas in this pool that have so far evaded capture and they’re probably living well off the inhabitants there.