Kalaupapa-Royalty Connection Explored at UHH Exhibit

October 24, 2012, 12:19 PM HST
* Updated September 8, 7:11 PM
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A historical exhibit featuring the strong relationship between the people of Kalaupapa on Molokai and Hawaii’s royal family will open Friday at the Edwin Mookini Library at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

The public is invited to attend a blessing and welcome scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Titled “A Source of Light, Constant and Never-Fading,” the exhibit was developed by Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the value and dignity of each individual sent to Kalaupapa because of government policies regarding leprosy (now called Hansen’s disease).

The ‘Ohana is made up of Kalaupapa residents, family members, descendants, longtime friends, students, clergy and others who have been working to preserve the history of Kalaupapa.

The president of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa is Clarence “Boogie” Kahilihiwa, who lived in Kalapana until being taken to Kalaupapa after being diagnosed with the disease in 1950 at the age of 9. Kahilihiwa was among those attending the opening of the exhibit when it debuted at Iolani Palace in Honolulu earlier this year.


“We often don’t hear about how our Hawaiian monarchy was concerned about the people sent to Kalaupapa and the conditions of the settlement,” said Kahilihiwa. “The ‘Ohana greatly appreciates the University of Hawaii at Hilo partnering with us to bring this exhibit to the Big Island.”


The exhibit contains historical photographs, excerpts from letters originally written in Hawaiian, quotes, petitions and lyrics of songs composed by Kalaupapa residents as well as photos and quotes of current or recent residents.

The exhibit is part of a new schools outreach program developed by the ‘Ohana to help get information about Kalaupapa included in classroom curriculums.

Teachers can contact the ‘Ohana at [email protected] to receive materials. Teachers interested in bringing students to the exhibit should contact Thora Abarca at 974-7343.


The Mookini Library is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fridays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

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