Come to Kaua‘i Community College’s cafeteria Thursday evening to hear Dr. Keao NeSmith speak at the free event, Kaumuali‘i and Kaua‘i Nui Kuapapa — Talking About the King’s Vision for Our Island.

King Kaumuali‘i, son of Chiefess Kamakahelei, was one of the most powerful chiefs in old Hawai‘i. He was the descendant of a lineage of powerful chiefs — the fearless Kahekili was his uncle — which many scholars believe gave him a mana, or spiritual power, even higher than King Kamehameha.

Forces of nature and disease twice thwarted Kamehameha’s plans to take over Kaua‘i. Years later, Kaumuali‘i agreed to rule Kaua‘i as a vassal king to Kamehameha, thus avoiding a potential blood bath on the Garden Isle.

Born and raised in Kekaha, NeSmith is a Native Hawaiian linguist, educator, translator and cultural practitioner. He taught at various universities, including UH-Hilo and Manoa, where he received graduate and post graduate degrees. He also taught at the Université de la Polynésie Française in Tahiti, and received his PhD at the University of Waikato, Hamilton in New Zealand.

NeSmith is currently on faculty at UH Manoa, and has translated a number of books into Hawaiian language, including The Hobbit, The Little Prince, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Harry Potter a Me Ka Pōhaku Akeakamai, an ʻōlelo Hawai‘i translation of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. He is currently working on a Hawaiian translation of The Chronicles of Narnia.

Additionally, NeSmith co-developed Phase I of Kaua‘i Nui Kuapapa for and with the Kaua‘i County as a resource on moku, ahupua‘a, place names and mōlelo from Kaumuali‘i’s time. He was the model for the Friends of King Kaumuali‘i’s statue of King Kaumuali‘i, by artist Saim Caglayan, to be installed on Kaua‘i’s Westside.

Kaumuali‘i and Kaua‘i Nui Kuapapa — Talking About the King’s Vision for Our Island is at KCC Cafeteria Sept. 19, Thursday at 5 p.m.

The event is co-sponsored by KCC-Hawaiian Studies and the Friends of King Kaumuali‘i.

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