Paula Akana | Culturised Podcast with Host Makani

Paula Akana is the Executive Director with The Friends of Iolani Palace and is much known for her 30 plus years as a broadcast journalist for KITV Island News. Paula is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism. Paula has served with a number of local nonprofit organizations over the years, including the Board of Directors for YMCA Metro Honolulu and Ma‘o Farms and is a member of the Hawaiian Civil Club of Honolulu. She has also volunteered with the Polynesian Voyaging Society for many years, working on education initiatives, voyaging planning, and fundraising efforts.



Makani:  Hey, what's up? Howzit.  Aloha  and welcome to Culturised.

Itʻs me, Makani.  This is where we get to sit down with friends special guests, everyday Hawaiians and talk about culture.  Not just ethnic, native social culture, everything and find out where you can learn share and make sure that you're doing your part to make sure your culture is on the rise.

With me today, I can't be more humble and privileged and excited because a guest with me today has taken on a new kuleana that we want to get into but you're going to see her face you're going to be familiar with her.  She's been in media.  I don't know , I'm not going to say how many years, but looks like she has never left from day one.  Ladies and gentlemen,  Paula Akana.

How are you?

Paula Akana:  Aloha.

Makani:  Okay so I know, really quick, we are a cultured show.  Here, is a lei kukui for you and we're going to offer it as they do with the CDC. 

Paula Akana:  It's a beautiful Lei. Mahalo.

Makani:  If you're joining us the lei kukui that you see is a representation of knowledge.  We always want to make sure that knowledge is where is our hard drive, is in our head so that knowledge is continually around you like a lei.  You have knowledge we want to get right into that.  We got to do all the local cultural usuals.

Paula Akana:  Where you wen school?

Makani:  Where you went to school?  What high school did you go to?

Paula Akana:  Kamehameha.

Makani:  We were just talking about that with Dr Umi.  He and I went to Lahainaluna.  We always say, well Dr Umi says, “Don't be so sacrilegious” and I always say “Kamehameha school, you're welcome”. So, Kamehameha school.  We want to get right into it.   I'm not going to ask what year.

Paula Akana:  That's okay. Class of 80, 1980.  I will tell you because I love polenaʻole. That's our class.

Makani:  I was just gonna say that was the one.  Kamehameha school,  how long did you go there?

Paula Akana:  From first grade

Makani:  Wow!

Paula Akana:  So just one year shy of doing the 13 years.

Makani:  I want to get right into that. Growing up, of course,  Kamehameha school, being a very Hawaiian school. Outside of that, in the home, how what was culture growing up for you?  We always talk about

growing up our grandparents or parents never really put it into our faces. It's like this is what you gotta do.

It was more observation.  How was it for you growing up?  Was there a lot of culture?

Paula Akana:  No.

Makani:  Wow.

Paula Akana:  My mom's from Missouri, okay.  My dad of course born and raised here.  My dad grew up

during that time, he was born in the early 20ʻs and it was very much, you grew up to be the American.  And he didn't really have a lot of the Hawaiian culture. So really, it was at school that I got it.  I did get the food at home and my mom was as Hawaiian as a non-Hawaiian could get.  She made incredible food and I think more than anything what I learned from her was just that it really didn't matter what blood was flowing through your brain your veins. It was what's in your heart.

Makani:   Think back. Were there little idiosyncrasies or little things that your parents did that you think,  oh, that was very cultural.  Like, at the time I just didn't think about it, like I can't even think of it.  You know, say even if something as simple as my dad would go surfing every day or my mom would do this every day.  So, was it so was it difficult now going to kamehameha school?  Almost like a culture shock? For example,  I grew up on Lanai then I went to Lahainaluna. Totally different culture.  Was it like that?

Paula Akana:  Not really. I love to learn.  So, from the time I was little,  I was reading as much as I could.  We did do the doxology at home, but I think more than anything else,  it was because I went in at such a young age. It wasn't a shock. It was just like wow this is really fun, and Im just learning things that I didn't really know.

Makani:   Here's another question. You're learning things but did you also feel at the same time, as being a kanaka being a Hawaiian,  it's like oh,  it kind of feels comfortable.  This is what I'm supposed to be doing.

Paula Akana:  Very much so.  Very much so, and the two leading,  I want to say the leading wahine in in elementary school was Corinthia Harbottle and Lahela Rosehill.  They were these great powerful names but they really you know, made us appreciate the gift from Pauahi and the gift of being Hawaiian and learning about our culture.


Makani:   So with that as you went through the Kamehameha system,  after that you actually studied,  you were in media, but you studied something before that, right?

Paula Akana:  So when I went to the University of Hawaii, I wasn't quite sure.  I really wanted to start off as an accountant. I loved math.  I loved math.

Makani:   Wow!  I would have never thought that.

Paula Akana:  I loved math all through high school and I thought I'll be a CPA, you know.  But at the University of Hawaii I lost that desire really quickly.  Started taking some other classes and one brought me back to journalism.  I had been a writer on our school newspaper at Kamehameha and I was the editor. I was a sports editor my junior year.  The co-editor my senior year. On the speech team and the debate team so it kind of just,  I just kind of went back to it.   

Makani:   So, there was that path.

Paula Akana:  That path was already there.  But one of the classes I took, because you just had to take some other classes.  And I said, “this is a cool class”  and it was Ben Finney who started the Polynesian Voyaging Society. And Ben Finney was an anthropologist and he's one of the founders of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and so with journalism at that time and everything's different in school.  Now you kind of had to minor in something right and so I was really drawn to that of course.  That was the days of Indiana Jones and that was exciting.  But we did some really great classes in archaeology and just learning about where we came from and who we were.  And because of him, I was able to get involved in the Polynesian Voyaging Society. I mean I knew about it.  He invited the class to you know take a look and visit and then it wasn't until I actually started media that I got involved.

Makani:   When did you start your first broadcast,  first time in media. Was it after college or..

Paula Akana:  Well in college, we had to do a radio show and my partner and I did a radio show. And she said something funny and we busted out laughing and I thought great, we couldn't stop laughing. You know it was really low frequency radio so luckily not too many people heard it.  I was like, well, I guess that class is like doomed but he says you're just gonna do it all over again.  And we did a great one. And I thought okay,  I can do this.  You know it was finally merging I think.  Speaking, you know,  speech and writing and the love of telling that story.  So, I got an internship at KITV when I was in my senior year.

Makani:   And you never left there.

Paula Akana:  I never left.  I stayed there for like thirty years.

Makani:    I would have never known you started in radio that way.

Paula Akana:  Well it's just radio for class.

Makani:   I mean, that's how radio starts right?  From a cultural standpoint, everything you learned at Kamehameha school as far as culture and things go. Did it play a part in the early parts of journalism?

Paula Akana:  Definitely. I think what I had learned throughout my years at Kamehameha and taking those cultural, anthropology and in different classes really helped me to approach my stories a different way and give me a better you know, you have the background and just a better feeling when you're doing the stories.

Makani:   I was, so that was one of the questions I thought.  I was like, did you ever come across a story that had to deal with some kind of native Hawaiian issue, and was there ever a time that even how you felt about it, but you still got to report it.  I mean what was that like knowing that here's a native Hawaiian issue, I may not agree with it.  I might agree with it,  but you still had to report it. Was that difficult?

Paula Akana:  It was difficult. It was the early years of my career.  The Office of Hawaiian Affairs would have these meetings that would go late into the night and the media would be sitting there on the floor. You're watching, and it was a pretty, I want to say,  there was a lot of yelling back then going on.  And it was some of the beginning years and I had to, you know, you have to be unbiased.  You have to realize that this is the story you're doing but inside you're going boy, are they getting anything done? As a beneficiary, is anything happening? So that was hard, but it was also very interesting. And I think having gone to Kamehameha and having just the true aloha I think that so many of us carry, it helped me to open the doors and talk to these people and to do some stories that maybe I would not have been able to.

Makani:   Here's another question along with that, was it easier because they knew you were a fellow kanaka ?  Knew you were a Hawaiian but also a journalist?  Because, you know at the time everybody's like oh...journalist.  I don't want to tell my story.  Was it a, was the door easier to get into in some ways?

Paula Akana:  In some ways it was. I think a lot of it though goes down to who you are as a person, you know. As a would always try to put myself in their place.   But it was tough because for some people, I wasn't Hawaiian enough.  For some people I was too Hawaiian.  So you know, that's always a difficult one.

Makani:   It's always going to be. It's always going to be. Do you still feel like that today? And now in our adult life and every once in a while I'm like are we Hawaiian enough? I don't even understand that concept but, it's there.

Paula Akana:  Sometimes I think I don't have enough knowledge right.  I mean, obviously we all need to seek more knowledge.  But I'll listen to things and I'm going, wow, Ii don't even know that. Which is exciting,  but at the same point it's like Iʻm at the palace.

Makani:   But I think that's the great thing about it.  Speaking of the palace, you have this I like to think it's an unbelievable kuleana.  So, with KITV 35 years in media,  in the news at the anchor desk.  Household face, household name everybody looks up to you. What motivated you to take on this kuleana of the Iolani Palace?  You’re Eexecutive Director?

Paula Akana:  Yes.

Makani:   Wow! What was it for you?

Paula Akana:  I know that eventually I wanted to do something more than what I was doing.  To really make a difference. Not that I wasn't making a difference in the news, but on a different level.  One of the first stories I did when I started working at KITV was to cover stories at the palace.  And I became friends with Jim Bartels, the late Jim Bartels.  He was a curator there and that was the exciting time when they went from an empty room to beautiful place that had been you know, just brought back to its glory.  But it was empty and they were finding all these, you know, artifacts and cultural objects all around the world.  They're finding chairs at Goodwill and a Davenport on the east coast.  And just silverware at the thrift store you know, so there were great stories.  And so, I went there a lot to do stories and just talk story with Jim.  And so, when the opportunity came up and I was approached, I was like, wow, this is something.  I'm really interested but I didn't jump into it.  I spent like two months doing the yay or nay because you're going from such a place where you're so comfortable that you feel like you could do with your eyes closed to where am I going? But I realized that she needs so much kokua and it was just it felt good.  It felt good.

Makani:   And so it was just a certain point,  a certain time you're like, you woke up like this is my kuleana. That's what I got to do.

Paula Akana:  Exactly

Makani:  It's like one of those things when kupuna pull you on the side, right. It's not your choice, but you were chosen. And I truly believe that's what it was. Um, so, you've been there for how long now?

Paula Akana:  A little over a year now. I started in July of last year and started off just basically looking in at the palace Not realizing like, the roof was leaking. You know we had bees.   Bee hives in the skin of the palace right.

Makani:  So this you could have a version of… what are those things on the home shopping, no uh what do they call it? Flip this house basically. So, you walked in and you realized that there were a lot of things going on. 

Paula Akana:  And it's a lot of things that people just didn't realize.  I think everyone just saw the palace as this beautiful place.  And so, I started.  It really began a journey to educate people about what's wrong there and what needs to be done and how fragile it is.

Makani:  I think that was a great thing that you did.  Because, like you said even even myself, I would look at this palace and thought, yeah, the menehune come by at night and they take care of it.  But that's not the case.  It was really falling apart.  And speaking of that, who do you, like who do you find, are there people that you have to find, specialists for these things?

Paula Akana:  We're really fortunate.  Well, we're a national historic landmark, so everything has to be done a certain way.  There's all kinds of rules and regulations and so there's an architect, a historic architect named Glenn Mason who's been working on all the older buildings across the islands.  And he's been working with the palace for over a quarter of a century.  So, he's the one I turn to talk about what needs to be done, but we have a long list. One of the first things I did was ask the staff to tell me what's broken.  What's missing? 300 plus items

Makani: No way.

Paula Akana:  You know it could be really tiny items and then the roof is leaking kind of thing, you know. 

Makani: I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that this this place that we see is as a cultural icon that our that our monarchs lived in was kind of shabby. 300 different things.  Since you've been there what was probably one of the biggest flaws… like flaws?

Paula Akana:  I think the roof is the biggest thing, and the bees. Because about two months after, two or three months after I came on board, I had already had a vacation set up.  So, I said “I gotta take this because it's a trip, you know.”  So, when I'm on vacation, someone gets stung by bees

Makani: Wow.

Paula Akana:  Actually a couple of people got stung by bees.  So, as soon as I came back, that's what we worked on, what needs to be done.  And it's only just been done recently with a grant from the from the Hawaii Tourism Authority helped us out to get rid of bees and it turns out we had bees in all four corners.

Makani:  See better than you than me because I would have been like listen,  hey, you just got stung by royal bees.  We got royal honey you can get in the gift shop. I want to talk a little bit more about Iolani Palace and some of the special things about it.  Iolani Palace, correct me if I’m wrong, is the only royal palace not only in Hawaii, but on U.S. soil? We talked earlier, 138 years old. You are now the executive director.  You have taken over this hale and this royal palace and you realize that there's a lot to be done.  So, if you've never been to Iolani palace, or if you have been, if you're visiting Hawaii, we really, really encourage you to see this place, but see every corner about it.  And that's what we're talking about so we're talking about repairing the palace.  300 different things on the list. Besides that, since you've been there, has there been a moment that you've had with the palace herself, just you in the palace like standing there?

Paula Akana:  There's a lot of moments. I usually go and visit the queen statue every so often just to you know, I'm trying to you know, take care of your hale here. But walking through it, you can really feel you know, that, just the presence of what was there.  Then when you go in the imprisonment room where she spent eight and a half months.  You definitely feel something there.

Makani:  Because you get to go beyond the ropes. You get to stand in that corner. Standing in that corner, what did that feel like? Like, I think about it now, I'm just like, oh, that's heavy.

Paula Akana:  It's heavy. It’s chicken skin.  It's oh, it's kaumaha yeah. It's some sadness and then you have the joy of who they were as well. You know there's a whole lot of emotions that come through. We were having people entertain pre-covid and they would sing in there. Sing like Paoakalani, you know the songs that she wrote while she was imprisoned. And you know you feel like she's there listening. You know it's a powerful place. It has a powerful message in so many different ways. Kalakaua was like the renaissance man. He had one foot in the past, you know he brought back hula. He brought back the secret societies. People think of him as the merry monarch party guy but, he wasn't.  He was truly networking all the time. If you go and you look in the dining room, he sits here.  Not at the head because he makes sure he's going to talk to everybody. And everyone had a purpose when he invited them.

Makani:  See that those are the things I like. So, if you're just joining us, you're wondering what we're talking about. So, the overthrow of Hawaii is a thing, you look it up it's a whole other story. But our queen was imprisoned in that room. But we had our other monarchs. So, speaking of Liliʻu, Kalakaua as well, was he the last one to live?

Paula Akana:  No. She actually was. So, there actually was another palace before that was a wooden structure. Which was built and then purchased by King Kamehameha III when he moved the seat of government from Lahaina to Oahu. And then Kamemeha IV, fifth, Lunalilo and then Kalakaua. By then the ground termites took over. Even back then, just like now, termites just ate it up. And so that was born the idea of having a palace. They laid the cornerstone in 1879. It was a masonic ceremony because Kalakaua was a 33rd degree mason. And then he had gone and had started his trip around the world and realized this is what we need to have. You know to show people that the Kingdom of Hawaii had treaties with over two dozen countries and was our aliʻi were on par with the other leaders of the world.

Makani:  A lot of people don't realize you know, like, just his garb, his British garb. He knew he was always ahead of the game. We talked about it earlier, first electricity.

Paula Akana:  Electricity before the White House. Four years before the White House. Kind of debating on who was first Buckingham Palace or Iolani Palace.

Makani:  Who, so who's claiming?

Paula Akana:  Both. We both claim. So, it's around the same time, but he had indoor plumbing. He had telephones he spent, when he went around the world, he spent a week with Thomas Edison because he was truly enamored by modern things and he wanted to bring it to his people.

Makani:  The fact that Kalakaua was a true renaissance because he had like you said one foot in the past. He is the true essence of culturise right. He made sure that his people were taken care of. He made sure that he had relationships. So again, we'd like to thank you for being here and sharing those stories with us. We'd like to thank Star-Advertiser, Jams World and all those people.  If not for them, we wouldn't have a venue to talk about culture and share.  So, if you want to join us, check out our youtube channel and all those other things. But Paula Akana, again, mahalo, mahalo, mahalo for being here. This is culturised. Whatever you do in your culture, make sure you stay risen.

Mahalo for joining us at culturise. Really quick we got to thank Star-Advertiser for giving us a venue and a space to share, learn and talk about culture.  We got to thank Jam's world as well. Kapa Kava for supplying the social lubricant.  

Sitting with Paula Akana you get the extended version on youtube.  

But we're talking about Iolani Palace. So, of culture, I think about it.  I mean you mana wahine from Kamehameha school in media as a Hawaiian and then of course, we can't leave out Merry Monarch right? Really quick. How was that difficult?

We're gonna jump around, but we'll get back to Iolani Palace. But I just thought about that.

How long have you been away from Merry Monarch?

Paula Akana:  Oh my gosh. I want to say at least 10 years.

Makani:  Has it been that long?

Paula Akana:  Maybe even more.

Makani:  No

Paula Akana:  Yeah

Makani:  Wow. I wasn't paying attention.

Paula Akana:  I don’t even know when we last.  I've gone there for fun. Actually, I was able to go there a couple of years ago to do the hoʻike night. Thats right when we honored the Hokulea.

Makani:  What's it like seeing it from behind the camera? As far as being in front of it?

Paula Akana:  Itʻs a whole different experience.  It's different.  So, the good thing is now, when I'm there is I can get up and go get chili right.  Go to the chili booth. But I miss it right. I miss being behind there with all my friends, the kumu hula that I've made. You know people that I've just been with

Makani:  When it's back you can just walk in any time you want right? You feel like move over,  that's my seat.

Paula Akana:  I would never do that. I would never.

Makani:  I would. Merry monarch.  It's just  another one that everybody identifies you with. I want to get back to Iolani palace really quick because you're the executive director there now. And you're doing great things because you're finding out all these things that needed to be repaired. It's like flip this palace. I think we should do a tv show and flip this palace.  Because I think people need to know. I want to get right into this one.  This is really bizarre to me. Maybe you can explain it.  The only royal palace, I mean this is like Buckingham Palace status. To the Hawaiian people,  not one, not the state, not the city and county, not the federal government. Because you had to do a fundraiser.  I can't even wrap my head around that. Why is that that you had to do your own fundraiser? And this royal palace doesn't get taken care of by the state or any Hawaiian organization?

Paula Akana:  Letʻs take it back to the palace itself, after the overthrow. It became a government office. It became the seat of government for the provisional government the territorial government or the republic and through statehood. You know you had the throne room was where the house sat, the house of representatives.  

Makani:  I didn't even know that

Paula Akana:  The dining room is where the senate sat. Martin Luther King Jr went and spoke to the lawmakers in the palace because that was the state capitol.

Makani:  Wow

Paula Akana:  And if you go down into the basement, we have these great pictures of the renovations and restoration and it was like, there were lean twos sticking out of the side. Air conditioning units out of the windows and it was just, it was a mess.  It was a complete mess. And when they built the new state capitol, Governor Burns didn't want it to be Because there were some people who said “What do we need this building for?”  That's my understanding is I don't think it went any further than somebody saying that right, but...

Makani:  Just the thought.

Paula Akana:  Just the thought.

Makani:  What the heck?

Paula Akana:  So, he was acquainted with Lilliuokalani Morris, and they set up a, and you know basically could we take care of the palace. And so the Friends of Iolani Palace started.  That's over 50 years ago.  They worked with the Junior League another you know, it was all mana wahine. And there was state funding at the beginning for that. There was, between state and private funding, there was about six million dollars to restore it and they opened it in 1978.  It was beautiful, but that's decades ago and it's just an old building.  It's 138 years old. So, if you imagine your house, and you fixed up your house like 40 years ago or 30 years ago. It constantly needs to do it again. Money from the state stopped in the late 90s. And I don't really know why. That's that's something I'm trying to find out. I think part of it is they were never really made aware that there were problems. You know, because when you look at it you think it's beautiful.

Makani:  But I mean even the fact , I mean it's, it's just me, but the fact that like you said, if that's your home, that's your home to monarch and Hawaiians. You got to know there's a little bit of maintenance in there.  But it's always bizarre to me. So, thank you for that because I always thought about it.....wait.

Paula Akana:  We're working on it though. Yeah, so legislature this past year,  I just kind of, you know,  I went door-to-door and we talked story. I took them on tours to see where the problems were. We had bills and the bills crossed over and I was so excited and then COVID hit. Now the state is in you know, I don't know when they'll be able to actually help us.

Makani:  Do you find some of our leaders in office are clueless about the palace?  

Paula Akana:  I wouldn't say clueless.  I think there was a lot of miscommunication over the years. There are a few lawmakers that didn't realize that it was a state building.  That was kind of interesting. A lot of people feel that. A lot of people don't know you know they think it, the Hawaiians own it.

Makani:  Because I always think there needs to be, maybe this is our Hawaiian culture 101 for Iolani palace.  Like every politician I think, should go through a Hawaiian history class. At least before they become a politician, right? That's what makes us different.  But Iolani palace, even more different.

Paula Akana:  Now we do get grants and aid from them for special projects and you know big stuff.  But we definitely need something more than that. We saw that when the pandemic hit.  Because we went from 7,700 a day in revenues to Zero. And there was nothing. There was no rainy day fund.

Makani:  Wow, that's it's amazing to me. Stories that you've told so far,  Martin Luther King, I never knew that. Was there some other interesting stories that you've heard about or know? About the Iolani Palace that not a lot of people would know? I mean, we know that you got to put on their little booties when you go in. But other stories that you've, that are kind of interesting to the palace?  I mean we've got first electricity, first flushing toilet right? Do you remember the number, I don't even remember the number. How much did Kalakaua spend on his inauguration? Did he did he run the state dry?

Paula Akana:   I don't know but when he wanted to build Iolani Palace, he had to go to the legislature for funding. At that point in time, they had their legislature for the kingdom. It was supposed to cost, I want to say it was like $80 000, or something like that.  I don't actually know the exact number right now off the top of my head. But it ended up costing about $350 000. So, it costs them a lot.  I think the stories that I like the best are about the people who lived in that home and what they went on to do. Kalakaua, we talked about him being the first monarch in the world to circumnavigate the world.  What a lot of people don't realize is, when he went previous to that round-the-world trip he visited Washington DC as he was working on the Reciprocity Treaty for the sugar.  It was the very first White House dinner was in his honor.  Period, that's it.  They had never had a dignitary come to the White House for dinner. The very first dinner was thrown for King Kalakaua.

Makani:  Imagine he comes in as all in his British garb. He's like, this dinner's for me. So with that, his relationship with Washington DC,  did they treated him like a king?

Paula Akana:   They treated him like a king. And actually, Hawaii was treated really well all the way until just around the time that the overthrow happened. And that's I think what hurt the queen so much. You know, she didn't say, “I'm stepping down and handing over my kingdom.” She said, “I'm hoping that the United States of America will come and return it to us.”  She had a great relationship with Grover Cleveland and he actually said we should, but then he was elected out of office. The Spanish-American war was on. right timing and and mckinley took over

Makani:  Timing

Paula Akana:   Right, timing. And Mckinley took over, so then it was, you know.

Makani:  Um, are there parts of Iolani palace that there's artifacts and things that the public can't see? That you can be like, oh yeah, that's so-and-so's cufflinks.

Paula Akana:   There's a lot of things that we don't have on display. Not a huge amount. Many of our items belong to the state archives. They're on loan. We also have many items that belong to bishop museum that are on loan to us. We do have other items that are up in the attic.  There's some really interesting things there in the attic. Yeah, that's where we noticed the leak. The leak on the people who work in the attic.

Makani:  So this is what I'm picturing right now, is one of those movies where you go into the attic and there's just like chests and old rocking chairs.

Paula Akana:    Not quite that much. But it is neat there because everything is humidity temperature, you know we deal on that. So, it's very modern looking but when you open the door and you see what's on the shelves then it's really neat.

Makani:  Favorite thing or place in the Iolani Palace for you? That you have to look at and be at all the time. place

Paula Akana:   My favorite… oh I have two favorite places. I love to go into the imprisonment room because there's so many lessons of kapu aloha to be learned there. In this pandemic, you know where we're in our homes and she was like…

Makani:  She was ahead of the game.

Paula Akana:   She was stuck in her home for eight and a half months.  So, I love going there.  But then I love going into the dining room because it really showed you where they were on the world stage. One of my favorite things in the palace that normally you cannot see is that we have the Alii letters. You know to see how they wrote. There's a there's a letter that was written by the queen when she was, after she had been pardoned, and she was going back and forth to Washington and trying to get her country back.  And she said, “I really think that we as kamaʻaina are strangers we'll become strangers in our own home.” And that was, it just hits you when you see that. But then there's another letter with Princess Kaʻiulani and Kaʻiulani is my Hawaiian name. My grandfather remembers her when he was little.  So, we have a letter from her and she's apologizing to someone that she can't go to the dinner because she's chasing to save the chickens in the yard from the flood waters. So it's like, they're real.

Makani:  Sorry, I can't go the chickens are out. That's amazing to me. Before we wrap up, anything you can Share, not only with Hawaiians and local people in Hawaii, but those visiting and those coming to Hawaii from a cultural standpoint? Something about the royal palace or anything that's royal to somebody, what can you share with them as far as culture goes?

Paula Akana:    I think especially if you've never been to the palace, if you're coming to Hawaii, please, please come. Because there are so many things that you don't know about Hawaii, about our history. And maybe what you hear about are people today that have their roots back at the turn of the century. I think it's an interesting place to learn not only the sadness that happened with the overthrow but also what um amazing people Hawaiians were and are today.

Makani:  I would say. I would have loved it we were just some cool people.

Paula Akana:    We were. We were totally cool. And there's just the things our alii did you know.  Kapiolani, the king's you know.  King Kalakaua's wife Queen Kapiolani starting Kapiolani hospital. She started that because she had a miscarriage and she knew that we needed help for our people. And they went and they asked for, you know our alii were very forward thinkers on that. You know Queen Emma went door to door. I can't even imagine that somebody knocks on your door, you open it, and there's a queen going,  “Can you donate to the hospital?”  How do you say no?

Makani:  Just the fact that they all got together and was like, okay Emma, you're going to take care of the hospital. Kapiolani, okay the kids, okay you take the kids. And then what about the kupuna oh Lanakila, you're going to go take it . It's just how they thought was amazing to me.

Paula Akana:    And then Kamehameha III started the public education system

Makani:  I mean it's amazing.  So, I love that the stories that you've come to share with us about Iolani palace. Let us know how we can help continue success in everything that you do there.  So thank you for joining us for culturised the extended version right here on youtube. We got to thank our good friends from Star-Advertiser always giving us a venue and giving us a place to talk culture, share culture and learn culture.  So if you want to do that, you let us know Paula Akana, thank you very much for being here.

Paula Akana:    Thank you.

Makani:  Iolani Palace

Paula Akana:    You can go to You can learn all about it and also make a donation or become a member.

Makani:  You read my mind. That's your kuleana. If you want to do something for your culture that's what you do.

So thanks for joining culturised.  Stay risen.

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