On the South Shore of Kauai, discreet Prince Kuhio Park sits behind the coastline of Ho’ai Bay, itself an oft-overlooked cove with superlative snorkeling opportunities.
If you’ve ever watched the ocean wash under the lava bench at Spouting Horn and blow through a narrow chimney of rock, you’ve passed Prince Kuhio Park. Same if you’ve snorkeled at Beach House Beach or surfed P.K.’s.
Prince Kuhio Park gets overshadowed by some of the more popular sights along Kauai’s nook of a South Shore, especially Poipu Beach, the beach that in 2001 topped “Dr. Beach’s list as “America’s Best Beach.”
And, yet, Prince Kuhio Park deserves a look, and, indeed, some recognition.
Here, on March 26, 1871, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole was born. Soon after his birth, his mother died, and the baby was adopted by his mother’s sister Kapi’olani and her husband Kalakaua. When his adopted father ascended the throne in 1874 as ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii, the young boy was given the title of prince.
In the revolution of 1893, when the Hawaiian monarch—led by Lili’uokalani—was overthrown, Prince Kuhio participated in an unsuccessful overthrow of the new Republic of Hawaii, and served one year as a political prisoner.
Hawaii became a territory of the United States in 1898 and, in 1902, Prince Kuhio was elected Hawaii’s second delegate to Congress. He served until his death in January 1922.
Prince Kuhio is probably best remembered for leading the charge to establish the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and, in doing so, became known as the “Prince of the People.”
Tomorrow, the annual Prince Kuhio Celebration of the Arts commences. The week-long event uses the example of Prince Kuhio to remind us of the importance of serving our communities and showcases many of the arts and cultural practices of our host community, including hula, canoe racing, salt making, music and, of course, food. The celebration culminates, appropriately, with a ceremony in honor of the Prince of the People at Prince Kuhio Park.
If you can't make the event, stop by the park on your next visit and be sure to take a look at the finely-crafted rock wall that once served as a structure to a Hawaiian sacred site, or heiau.
For a detailed list of events, times and places, visit www.princekuhio.wetpaint.com.