Palani Road mural tells story of Kona’s famed love song about Kamehameha II

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A new visually stunning mural on Palani Road in Historic Kailua Village tells the story of Kona’s famed song Kona Kai ʻOpua about Kamehameha II (Liholiho) and his lover.

The Kailua Village Business Improvement District partnered with Lydia8 and EMPRESS: All-Wāhine Arts Festival to create the mural. Kukui Mahoney and John “Prime” Hina provided artistic creativity. The wall space was provided by Aloha Kia and Allan Jose.

A new mural along Palani Road tells the story of Kona’s history. Photo Courtesy: Kailua Village Business Improvement District

“This mele [song] reflects the beauty and pride that Kona has for its people, land, ocean, history and stories,” said Event Organizer Mahea ʻĀkau. “The two portraits on the mural represent the late Uncle Clement Keliʻipoʻaimoku “Red” Kanuha Sr. and the late Aunty Elizabeth Maluʻihi Lee.

“Kanuha was one of the original paddlers with the Kai ʻOpua Canoe Club when the club formed in 1929 and the beloved Aunty Elizabeth Maluʻihi Lee was a master lauhala weaver.”


The song shares the deep emotion of love that reflects back to the memorable places and people of Kona.

The mural interpretation shows Hualālai wrapped in lei to signify keiki. The Hinano flower of a male hala tree symbolizes a fruitful time. The main hala tree whose leaves are used for lauhala weaving creates a shade for the understory of a hala groove. The pink cumulus clouds predict good omens and seasons ahead. The Lai plant represents peace and protection.

A closeup of the new mural along Palani Road in Historic Kailua Village. Photo Credit: Kailua Village Business Improvement District

The mural closes with a calm sea and bright moonlight. The mural and the song are reminders to the community to continue to love this place and to care for it as kūpuna before us have.


“We hope that this mural will be a special reminder for everyone to learn about the significant historic and cultural sites that abound in Historic Kailua Village,” said Nancy Sakamoto, Kailua Village Business Improvement District vice president and placemaking chair.

For more information, friend the Kailua Village Business Improvement District on Facebook, follow on Twitter, or visit

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