Our lei po‘o is woven in honor of beloved Princess Ruth Ke‘elikōlani Keanolani Kanāhoahoa, whose name means “leaf bud of heaven.” She is revered for her “personal courage and largeness of spirit, reflected in her unwavering ancestral loyalty, and deep and abiding love for the first language and culture of the islands. ”
Princess Ke‘elikōlani’s lineage, hardships, and strength are represented by the plant selection and the materials that represent them; these elements bound via haku create a lei po‘o to honor her legacy.
Ohia lehua buds (candy-wrappers) represent her name - “leaf bud of heaven”; ohia lehua flowers (coffee bags) and liko (cardboard, paper, twisty-tie, packing peanut) represent her royal lineage as the great granddaughter of Ka Na‘i Aupuni - Kamehameha; palapalai (brown shredded paper), an adornment in the lei, represents her relationship with the people of Hawai‘i; the moa fern (hau, as an accent in the lei), much like Princess Ke‘elikōlani with the adversity she faced, is not bothered by pests; la‘i (hau), used to haku (bind the lei), represents her strength through tragedy; and a singular ‘oliana (6-pack rings, candy-wrappers) represents Princess Ke‘elikōlani herself. Like Princess Ke‘elikōlani the ‘oliana is beautiful and delicate but, as a poisonous plant, is also tough.
Princess Ke‘elikōlani, thank you for your strength, spirit of perseverance, love of Hawaiian Language and continuation of cultural practices; and for being a truly admirable woman.
1 Center for Biographical Research University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, “Biography Hawai‘i: Five Lives, A Series of Public Remembrances”, https://blogs.ksbe.edu/kes/files/2018/01/Remembrances-of-Princess-Keelikolani.pdf .
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