Hulihe'e Palace Remembers The Merrie Monarch With Free Music and Hula

Hulihee Palace entertainment


Hulihee Palace entertainmentIf you live in Hawaii, you can not help but learn the history of the Hawaiian people, their culture, and some of the colorful characters who have shaped Hawaiian history and whose spirit can still be felt today. Personally, I have been learning about the importance of King Kalakaua, the Merrie Monarch, as he was coined, who helped bring Hawaii’s deep culture of chant and music back to the people after the Hawaiian language and cultural practices were banned. Next Sunday, November 15th from 4-5 pm come enjoy free entertainment at the Hulihe’e Palace in Kona.  Here’s a video I did of the Palace from the seawall. Read more below for details of the event AND some very interesting history of the last King of Hawaii.

Hulihe’e Palace Remembers The Merrie Monarch

Enjoy a free Afternoon at Hulihe’e Palace 4-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15 to remember the late King Kalakaua. Presenting the Hulihe‘e Palace Band, hula and serenade by the Merrie Monarchs, the event is part of a year-long series that honors Hawai‘i’s past monarchs and historical figures; donations are appreciated. Kindly bring a beach mat or chair as seating won’t be provided.

The brother of Queen Lili‘uokalani, Kalakaua became king by election, rather than birthright, in 1874. He was from a long line of chiefs from the Big Island; his queen was Kapiolani.

“During Kalakaua’s reign, music thrived due to royal patronage,” says Jolee Chip, docent coordinator. “He loved the performing arts, especially music.”

HulaatHulihe'eThe king played the piano and composed chants and mele (songs) in both Hawaiian and English. Nicknamed the “Merrie Monarch,” Kalakaua also embraced Western music and promoted the playing of the ‘ukulele. He composed the words to the kingdom’s national anthem, “Hawai‘i Pono‘i,” which was set to music by his Royal Hawaiian Band.

“Kalakaua was a Renaissance man for Hawaiian arts,” adds Chip. “Kalakaua felt the political survival of his kingdom depended upon the cultural revitalization of the Hawaiian people. He included mele oli (chant) and hula in the king’s 1883 coronation and 1886 jubilee.


King David Kalakaua

“The king enjoyed visiting Kona, bought Hulihe‘e Palace and remodeled it,” explains Chip. “He stuccoed the exterior, plastered the interior and enlarged the ocean lanai. The home took on a Victorian air with crown and gold leaf picture moldings and crystal chandeliers. Ever the Merrie Monarch, Kalakaua furnished Hulihe‘e with the finery needed for entertaining: china, glassware, satin cushions, rugs and paintings.”

Kalakaua visited Washington, D.C. and brought about a reciprocity treaty of duty-free commerce with the U.S. He also sailed around the world in 1881 to promote Hawai‘i’s sugar industry. During this period, different countries attempted to take control of several Pacific islands. A group of foreigners, with the help of a military unit, forced the king to sign the Bayonet Constitution in 1887, taking away most of his power. Kalakaua died in 1891 on a trip to San Francisco and Lili‘uokalani, his regent, became queen.

The date for the final Afternoon at Hulihe‘e in 2015 is Sunday, December 13 and it remembers Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.

Hulihe‘e Palace is open for docent-guided and self-guided tours. Museum hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday—with the exception of the palace open 1-4 p.m. the Monday following the monthly Kokua Kailua Village stroll.  Palace admission for a self-guided tour is $8 for adults, $6 for kama‘aina, military and seniors, and $1 for keiki 18 years and under. Docent-guided tours are available upon request. For details, contact the palace at 329-1877, the palace office at 329-9555 or visit The gift shop, open 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday- Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, can be reached by phoning 329-6558.

Caretakers of Hulihe‘e Palace are the Daughters of Hawai‘i and the Calabash Cousins. The Daughters was founded in 1903 and opens membership to any woman who is directly descended from a person who lived in Hawai‘i prior to 1880. Helping the Daughters in its efforts since 1986 are the Calabash Cousins; membership is available to all.

2016 Afternoon at Hulihe‘e schedule: 4-5 p.m. on the palace grounds

All Afternoons at Hulihe’e present hula by Na Pua U‘i O Hawai‘i Hula Halau and vocals by the Merrie Monarchs. Some events also include the Hulihe’e Palace Band and are noted below. On band dates, only kahiko hula is showcased. Other events offer a full hula show. Events remember the late royalty and persons listed.

Jan 17: Band appearance remembering King Charles “Lunalilo” and Aunty I‘olani Luahine

Feb 21: Event remembering Princess Ruth Ke‘elikolani

Hulihee Palace 1885

Hulihe’e Palace circa 1885

Mar 20: Band appearance remembering Queen Ka‘ahumanu and Prince Kuhio

Apr 17: Event remembering Prince Edward Albert

May 15: Event remembering King Kamehameha IV “Alexander Liholiho”

Jun 12: Band appearance remembering King Kamehameha I “Paiea”

Jul 17: Event remembering John Adams Kuakini

Aug 21: Event remembering King Kamehameha III “Kauikeaouli”

Sep 18: Band appearance remembering Queen Lili‘uokalani

Oct 16: Event remembering Princess Ka‘iulani

Nov 20: Band appearance remembering King Kalakaua, Palace Curator Aunty Lei Collins and Bandmaster Charles “Bud” Dant

Dec 11: Event remembering Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop

Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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