Royal Hawaiian Hosts 4th Annual Makahiki Celebration

January 11, 2016

“Makahiki is a celebration of peace and prosperity and all the good things in Hawai’i”

This past weekend marked the 4th Annual Royal Hawaiian Makahiki on the grounds at Helumoa.

As the gentle waves of Waikīkī kissed the shore, the call of the pu, or conch shell, announced the arrival of Lono, the Hawaiian god of peace, prosperity, fertility and healing, by wa`a (canoe) at Kahaloa, the beach fronting the Royal Hawaiian.makahikiLono was welcomed with oli ho`okipa (chants of welcome) by Kahuna Kalama Cabigon and Manu Boyd.

The Huaka`i – procession of Lono, dignitaries, ceremonial participants and guests proceeded to the Coconut Grove.

This ancient clearing was known as Kahuamokumoku and was the exact site of the Makahiki games in ancient Waikīkī.

Ho’okupu were then offered to Lono by ceremonial participants and dignitaries.

Cheryl Williams, the General Manager of the Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort opened the Makahiki Event at the Coconut Grove with `Ōlelo Ho`okipa – welcoming remarks, followed by acknowledgments given by Manu Boyd of Kamehameha Schools and Shad Kane, cultural consultant, historian, and Makahiki convener.

From Left to Right: Harris Chan, VP Operations, Hawaii & French Polynesia Cheryl Williams, GM, The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort Luz Gutierrez, Complex Director of HR, Hawaii Kelly Sanders, Area Managing Director, Honolulu, Hawaii, Manu Boyd of Kamehameha Schools

Stories of O`ahu Makahiki traditions, and the Helumoa coconut grove were then shared by Shad Kane Their Mo`olelo was enjoyed by all.

The Makahiki Games were officiated by The Royal Order of Kamehameha and Pālehua Nā Koa. Children of all ages from one year to ninety nine enjoyed sharpening their skills as they participated in the four Hawaiian games – `Ulu Maika(stone disk rolling, Moa pahe`e (wooden dart sliding), Haka moa (one-legged wrestling), and `Ō`ō ihe (spear throwing).

During the course of the event our guests enjoyed the cultural practitioners on the Coconut Lanai – Lau Hala Weaving; Hawaiian Kapa; Hawaiian war weapons, Hawaiian Art, Feather and Shell, and Lomi Lomi with Pā Ola Hawai`i.


Makahiki 2016 came to an end at 11:00am. The blessings of akua and our ancestors of old were bestowed upon us.

A delicious lunch was then enjoyed by invited guests and kôkua.

This exceptional day unfolded because of the Kōkua of so many!


The event received news coverage from Hawaii News Now, KHON2 News, and KITV.

Thelma Kehaulani Kam, Director of Cultural Services for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Waikiki, expressed the following message of reflection and thanks about the event:

“I first would like to give special thanks to Cheryl Williams and the Leaders of the Royal Hawaiian for all of their Aloha and support. Cheryl, mahalo nui for standing by my side through the entire year of planning and the event day itself!

I could not have done it without your support and Aloha. Without the kôkua of everyone, this amazing event could not have happened.

A special thanks to Tracy Stoltz, Louellen Kaneshiro and the Housekeeping Team, Scott Kawasaki, Cori Hara and the Concierges Team, Chef Colin Hazama and the Culinary Team, Mitchel Reeves and our Valet Team, our PSAV Team, Rodney Young and the Grounds Team, Sam McKeague and our Security Team, Haley Albertson and the Catering Team, Martina Mark, Cary Keahi and the Banquet Team.

A BIG Mahalo to Kevin, the Banquet Captain and Phillip, the Banquet Porter, Ester Ng, Dara Young, Karen Takata, and Ana Palagano (my helper for the event).

Mahalo to the Royal Societies, our Hawaiian Civic Clubs, the many staff who attended and our family, friends, and Kama`āina who joined us in our celebration.

Mahalo Nui to the Housekeeping Departments of the Moana, the Princess Ka`iulani, the Sheraton Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian who placed the Makahiki Cards in every room sharing with our guests this phenomenal event.

Mahalo Piha to Shad Kane, cultural consultant, historian and Makahiki convener for giving so much of yourself to the coordination of this event, the many meetings and your precious time spent, the beautiful Kahili for the Huaka`i and grove, as well as guidance throughout each planning stage. You are the epitome of Aloha! 

It has been a 9 month journey that I will cherish!

Mahalo Nui to Kalama Cabigon for your guidance and for ensuring the Cultural Protocol each step of the way, and Eric Matanane and his team for assisting in organizing the games and the set up of the event.

A very special Mahalo Nui goes out to Manu Boyd for all of your support!

Mahalo Manu for sharing your mana`o and guidance throughout the planning stages for the event and for assisting with the beautiful Programs and In-room cards for us!

A huge mahalo for your gift of time on the day of the event. Mahalo for the Oli Ho`okipa and your welcome acknowledgements.

All that you shared will be remembered for a lifetime!

Mahalo Nui Loa to Vic Kimura for your guidance and support and to Harris Chan, Kelly Sanders, and Luz Gutierrez for your Aloha and support of the perpetuation of the traditions of our culture!

Mahalo Nui to Ted Bush and his team and Dan Ashcraft for assisting with the canoes and clearing the beach access for the arrival of Lono.

To Everyone again – Mahalo Piha!! We are already looking forward to our 5th Annual Makahiki in 2017!!!”

For more than 2,000 years, the significance of Lono and his contributions to the beliefs and practices of the early Hawaiian people influenced the celebration of events held during Makahiki festivals throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

According to the ancient calendar of Hawaii, the Hawaiian new year begins on the first night of the rising star constellation Makali’i, or Pleiades.

The four months following the rise of the Makali’i, from October to the end of January, were set aside as a time for Lono to give thanksgiving for the bounty of land and sea.

Mahalo Palena `ole (Gratitude beyond measure)

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