Today we celebrate the birthday of our last reigning monarch, Queen Lili’uokalani. Our Queen's motto was “E ‘Onipa’a i ka ‘imi na’auao”- Be steadfast in the seeking of knowledge. Well versed in traditional Hawaiian oli as well as the hymns and ballads of European and American music, Queen Lili’uokalani was a renowned composer who is credited with arranging over 150 songs including “Aloha ‘Oe” and “Kuʻu Pua i Paoakalani”. In 1886, Lili’uokalani founded the Lili’uokalani Educational Society to provide educational opportunities for Native Hawaiian girls.
In 1897 as a contributing Patron of the Polynesian Historical Society, she translated her family’s genealogical chant, the Kumulipo, an over 2,000 line poetic history of our islands, flora and fauna of Hawai’i as it relates to our ali’i. This singular repository of knowledge has given Hawaiian scholars great insight into the world view, scientific process and keen sense of place of our ancestors. Our Queen’s motto still rings true today as education and knowledge have been cornerstones in the revival of our culture and language. Let us celebrate our Queen by continuing our own path to ‘Onipa’a i ka ‘imi na’auao.
Written by: Lāiana and Cami Kanoa-Wong