Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hawaii's Last Queen

As many of you know, I have been studying Hawaiian history for several years now. Most especially the history and life of the last queen of Hawaii, Liliuokalani.

When I first visited Hawaii almost ten years ago, I knew nothing of this woman and her amazing story. I only know what every mainland child knew of Hawaii. Hawaii is a chain of islands, they have the most active volcano, and there was this king called Kamehameha. There is so much more to Hawaiian history. My interest and connection to Hawaiian history changed quickly one sunny day.

I was strolling down a side street running in front of my parent's condo( my parents live in Hawaii and I am blessed to be able to visit them and the islands that have stolen a piece of my soul) and the Royal Kona Resort. I was heading up to the bay to sit on the seawall and watch the surf.

When you pass the Royal Kona, you see large portraits hanging on the walls outside near the lobby. These are portraits, copies of course, of the royal family. There is Kamehameha the great, the chief that united all the islands to become King. There is Kamamalu his favorite wife and many more. The final picture is Queen Liliuokalani, most likely in her early thirties when she was still a princess. A face strong and commanding with eyes so dark and intriguing I was gripped with the desire to ask the painting questions, as if she was real. Who was she? What had she done? Why was she on this wall?

I promptly bought a book called, The Betrayal of Liliuokalani, at the ABC store I passed on my way to the pier.

In the years that came after that day, I became more and more obsessed with Liliuokalani and her life. I felt the overwhelming need to write a screenplay about her life and times. I brainstormed and researched until I was blue. Yet I didn't write anything.

Until now.

The other night I was attending a birthday celebration for one of my closets and dearest friends. I got to talking with another friend and his wife. They write screenplays with another couple and they had asked what I was working on now. I mentioned how I wanted to write about Liliuokalani. We chatted about her life and I told them what I had learned. "What a great movie that would make! I never knew any of that." With that statement I realized it was time to sit down and write her story. Give her highness a chance to tell her story and let the world know what an amazing person she was.

I now realize I don't have to be afraid to write this screenplay. I have it in me.
For some reason, the queen has chosen me - a mainland haole - to write her story. And I feel she is standing beside me on this journey, guiding my hands as I type.

Mahalo nui loa, Liliuokalani - ali'i nui of my heart.

Listening to : Nathan Aweau - a Place called Hawaii
Watching: Hawaii Five-O
Reading: Kalakaua Renaissance King.

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