Prior to the annual festival that celebrates Queen Emma’s trip to the Alaka`i Bog in Koke`e, there is the all-important task of selecting a queen.
At a recent sunset ceremony at Waimea Plantation Cottages, Sherri “Puni” Kawaihoʻnani Patrick accepted the invitation of the nonprofit Hui o Laka to represent Queen Emma at the 24th annual Eō e Emalani Festival set for Saturday, Oct. 13 in Kōkeʻe State Park. Hui o Laka and West Kauaʻi Visitor Center staff joined Patrick’s family and friends for the occasion.
Carrie Newcomb offered an ʻoli and Aletha Kaohi offered a pule. Kaohi has long supported this festival that is an historical commemoration of Queen Emmaʻs 1871 trek into the Alakaʻi.
Like the Queen she will represent, Patrick is a woman of service. She is the executive/program director of the nonprofit Leadership Kauaʻi, where she assists in cultivating adult and teen leaders to guide and serve Kauaʻi County. She has a 21-year-old son, Koapono and is affianced to Thomas Nizo of Makaweli.
A graduate of Kamehameha Schools’ Kapālama Campus, Patrick was born and raised on Oʻahu in the Koʻolaupoko district of Kailua and Kaneʻohe. She majored in Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Campus.
Malia Kahaleinia Chun will be Patrick’s lady-in-waiting. Chun is the Kauaʻi Island site coordinator for Nå Pua Noʻeau, providing enrichment activities to Native Hawaiian students. She has a son, Leiʻohu, aged 10, and a daughter, Laʻakea, aged 6.
Representing Kaluahi this year — the Queenʻs guide — will be Harrom Hookano Kaili .
“We are deeply grateful to Puni, Malia, Harrom and their ʻohana for keeping Queen Emmaʻs spirit alive at this annual occasion,” says Hui o Laka executive director Marsha Erickson. “We could not honor Queen Emma without the devoted support of the Queen, her ʻohana and the hundreds of dancers and volunteers who come to honor her.
This festival is also made possible by a grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as well as funding from HTA-County of Kauaʻi.
The following gallery of photos highlights last year’s festival. Read more after the gallery.
Becoming Queen for a Day — Puni Patrick’s behind-the-scenes preparation for the festival
Click here to follow the path of preparation leading to Puni Patrick representing Queen Emma for a day.
Making your own trip to the festival
This amazing cultural festival remains free and open to the public. It is a day of hula and chant offered to Queen Emma. Your job as an attendee is to relax and enjoy. Food and beverages are available and native crafts as well. Wear sunblock and a hat. Allow time to park and walk in order to be in place prior to noon when Nick Castillo’s haunting falsetto rings through the meadow and Queen Emma and her lady-in-waiting and guide come down the hill on horseback to arrive at the special marquee set up for her. It’s chicken-skin time!
Preview presenters on festival day
To preview activities for this day-long jewel of a festival that takes place on the meadow near the Koke`e Museum, click here or continue reading below.
Participants in 2012
As Queen Emma: Sherri Kawaiho‘onani Patrick, Kaua‘i
Lady in Waiting: Malia Kahaleinia Chun, Kaua‘i
Kaluahi, The Queen’s Guide: Harrom Hookano Kaili, Kaua‘i
Mistress of Ceremonies: Aletha Puna Kaohi, Kaua‘i
Performing for the Queen
Ka ‘Imi Na‘auao o Hawai‘i Nei Institute
Roselle Keli‘ihonipua Bailey, Maui
Hālau Ha‘a Hula ‘o Kekau‘ilani
Na Pua Hala O Kailua
Charlani Kalama, O‘ahu
Hālau Na Wainohia
Tony Conjugation, O‘ahu
The Ladies of Ke‘alaokalaua‘e
Healani Youn, Kaua‘i
Hālau ‘O Kia
Hannah Kia Kaneakua-Basso, O‘ahu
Pua Ali‘i ‘Ilima
Victoria Holt-Takamine, O‘ahu
Ka Pā Kānaenae ‘O Kaua‘i Iki
Kula Aupuni Ni‘ihau A Kahelelani Aloha
Kaua‘i Iki, Kaua‘i
Hālau Ho‘ola Wai ‘Olena ‘O Waipao
Kapualani McElroy, Hawai‘i
Ka Ipu Ha‘a O Kekauilani
Na Pua Hala O Kau‘ai
Kanuikapono Charter School
Puna Kalama Dawson, Kaua‘i
Na Hula Ola Aloha
Malia Ko‘i‘ulaokawaolehua Helela, O‘ahu
Ho‘oulu I Ke Kapa
Leimomi Kiyono, O‘ahu
Hālau Hula o Hali‘ileo
Doric Yaris, Kaua‘i
Hui Hula O Kehaulani
Beverly Kauanui, Kaua‘i
Hālau Hula Na Lei Kupua O Kaua‘i
Susan Pa‘inui Floyd, Kaua‘i
Hālau Ka Waikahe Lani Malie
La‘amea Almeida, Kaua‘i
Ke Kula Ni‘ihau o Kekaha
Love Ho‘omaika‘i Kelley