Historical Society Celebrates New Exhibit

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The Kona Historical Society hosted about 85 guests at their Kealakekua headquarters on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, for a special opening reception of the society’s most recent exhibit, “E Hele Me Ka Pū‘olo: The Gifts We Bring.” The party included local artists, business owners, a representative from the Office of Mayor Harry Kim, and Kona Historical Society members, friends and family.

A view of the beautiful, clear sunset over the Kona Historical Society pasture and its Portuguese Stone Oven greeted the patrons Wednesday evening as they made their way past a spread of holiday cookies, appetizers and light refreshments. In the H.N. Greenwell Store, the patrons found themselves absorbed in the stories, photos and artifacts curated by the organization’s curator, Mina Elison.

“Pū‘olo: The Gifts We Bring” highlights cultural contributions from Kona’s many ethnic groups through historical photographs and artifacts showcased alongside contemporary artworks from three Kona artists. The exhibit illustrates a deeply significant Hawaiian concept, also shared by many cultures, of the importance of taking a gift when one travels, and being prepared to express one’s respect and appreciation in the form of a pūʿolo, a small package or bundle. Artwork, oral histories, photos and artifacts reflecting Native Hawaiian, Japanese, Portuguese, Filipino, Chinese and English heritage appear alongside each other to illustrate a tapestry of cultures that create Kona’s unique sense of place.


Walking through the exhibit, reception guests were greeted immediately with historical photographs transporting them to Kona District with photos of wa‘a, steamships and airplanes landing in the harbors and ports of the area. As the viewer continues through the exhibit, they meet the many groups of people who have brought their values and traditions with them to their new home, where these traditions mix and meld with others to become the unique culture that exists in Kona today.

Supported by the State of Hawai‘i Grant-in-Aid program “E Hele Me Ka Pū‘olo: The Gifts We Bring,” is now open to the public Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kona Historical Society’s headquarters in Kealakekua, and will be on display until June 27, 2019.

This exhibit is sponsored by Hawai‘i State Grant-in-Aid, Hawai‘i State Foundation for Culture and the Arts, County of Hawai‘i Nonprofit Grant in Aid, Hawaii Community Foundation, Kona Transportation, Hannah Kihalani Springer, and The Aoki Family in Honor of Natsuko and Yasuto Aoki. Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawai‘i.


If you would like more information about this topic, photos, or to schedule an interview, call Development Director Dance Aoki or Office Manager Cherish Ravenscraft at the Kona Historical Society main office at (808) 323-3222. You may also email [email protected]. For general information go online.

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