`Ahahui Ka`ahumanu Society Molokai Chapter Celebrates its 75th Anniversary
The `Ahahui Ka`ahumanu Society’s Molokai chapter is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Members from six other chapters on neighboring islands spent last weekend with their Molokai sisters to join in the celebration.
“The women of `Ahahui Ka`ahumanu are part of a benevolent society honoring Queen Ka`ahumanu, but we are also a society that loves and cares for other women,” said Ulalia Ka`ai Berman of a member of the society’s chapter five from Kona.
`Ahahui Ka`ahumanu members spent Saturday evening out of their traditional black dress and orange feather leis. Instead, the women wore brightly colored aloha print muu-muu’s and sweet smelling floral leis. Enjoying a traditional Hawaiian meal, the women spent the evening talking with one another, their laughter mingling with the sound of the waves crashing and the Hawaiian mele playing in the background.
Auntie Vanda Hanakahi gave an olelo, and welcomed the other chapters to Molokai, explaining the island’s importance to the history of Hawaii by telling stories of the ancestors.
“I think of their commitment and kuleana, their love of family and community,” she said, and encouraged the `Ahahui Ka`ahumanu Society members to also leave a legacy of aloha.
The society was formed as a tribute to Queen Ka`ahumanu, the wife of Kamehameha I. While ruling over the Hawaiian Islands, Ka`ahumanu used her power to establish rights for all Hawaiians, especially women. During her reign she abolished the Kapu system. She was a strong Christian woman and an advocate of the Protestant faith. The `Ahahui Ka`ahumanu Society, calls her “a unique and fearless leader among men and women,” and remember “her intelligence, beauty and strength.”
Today much of their work is devoted to the well being of the Hawaiian community, said Sammy Young. The group does not take sides in political matters but strives to care for the general interest of Hawaiians.
Young views her membership with the society as part of being a strong Hawaiian woman and someone who stands up for what is right. A native of Kona, young said she has enjoyed her time on Molokai and admires how the island has maintained its cultural heritage.
“Here on Molokai it’s what is passed on from your kupuna,” said Young. “It’s like ‘you want to know how fishpond work? Okay, come with me and work in fishpond.’ It’s better here.”
Carolyn Takeuchi, the president of the Molokai chapter, is a second generation member. Her mother, Hannah Tavares is currently serving as the chapter’s chaplain. Takeuchi’s sister, Marie Reyes is also a member of the Molokai chapter, although she now resides in Pearl City. All of the members from the `Ahahui Ka`ahumanu Society’s have a Hawaiian lineage and were joined the society by invitation.
“My prayer for them is that more young women from Molokai would join in order to perpetuate the cultural values and also the spiritual values, like serving,” said Kyle Lum, director of the Molokai Oceanside Retreat center which hosted the Ahahui Ka`ahumanu Society.
The weekend long event came to a close on Sunday morning with the traditional `Ahahui Ka`ahumanu church service.