Surfboard replica spurs art film about Princess Ka’iulani

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: May 13 2014 06:09:00 PM HST

Just before the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, Princess Kaiulani was living in the seaside town of Brighton, England. KITV's Catherine Cruz sheds some light on a bit of little known Hawaiian history, and the people bringing it to life.

HONOLULU -

Some say it may have been the happiest year away from her island home.

Click here to watch Catherine Cruz's story.

In her letters she writes of visiting an area she just adored which reminded her of Hawaii. "I really do like it here!" she exclaimed. She was on the ocean again.

If not for a replica of Princess Ka'iulani's surfboard in the British Surfing Museum, we might have never heard it.

Surf board shaper Tom Stone is humbled to learn one of his boards helped to retrieve the forgotten past.

"I thought it was important that we keep her spirit alive," said Tom “ Pohaku” Stone

Stone was commissioned to create a replica of this original board now in safekeeping  at Bishop Museum for the British Surfing Museum.

 The classic wooden board caught the eye of a British filmmaker Jane Couldrey who soon immersed herself into learning more about Ka’iulani's time there.

She found the actual home where the princess stayed.

 Now she's telling the story through the eyes of Phobe Rooke--- Ka’iulani's governess. These are glimpses of the princess' life never before seen by a Hawaii audience.

"One can imagine the princess would have walked down from Cambridge through the park here and down to the ocean," said Couldrey.

Maile Kaku, a hula dancer now living in Paris will be a part of the art film-- a tribute to the little known bit of Hawaii history.

 "It’s about sharing that history and bringing it back and giving people from far away a more respectful and a more spiritual idea of Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian history,” said Kaku.

Kaku was back in the islands recently to meet with her kumu Kilohana Silve to bring back a dance in Ka'iulani's honor.

"The idea is to bring the princess back though film and dance," said Kaku.

On this particular afternoon, Silve recalls being guided after finding a video clip of a dance choreographed by her Kumu, Ellen Castillo for a Merrie Monarch performance almost two decades ago.

"It is a beautiful hula kahiko and it tells a story of princess Ka'iulani's visit to the Holt estate and speaks of another time and place and takes us back to a gentler way of living," said Silve.

This past week, Kaku performed the hula at this pavillion along the Brighton boardwalk.

It was a treat for visitors to the boardwalk to catch a glimpse of the ties linking the island princess with the British Isles with the hula tribute that these ambassadors of Hawaii history and culture hope will draw them in.

"It's something that touches them and it moves them greatly and when they see it, they become very curious and they want to know more," Silve said.

They will have that chance when Jane Couldrey's film debuts this fall.

It is a nod to the princess who will have her day by the seaside once again.

**Brighton photos thanks to Matt Stevens, Dylan Scalet, and Ryan Nosworthy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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