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Keauhou Beach Resort celebrates 40 years

The keiki of Halua Kalaakeakauikawekiu perform at the Keauhou Beach Resort's 40th anniversary celebration. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Contributing Editor

Keauhou Beach Resort celebrated its 40th anniversary over the weekend with a day-long extravaganza of arts, entertainment and food.

Entertainment was provided by Halau Kalaakeakauikawekiu under the direction of kumu Aloha Victor. A highlight was a performance by the keiki.

Although the resort was the center of attention Saturday, general manager Paul Horner said its success lies with the community.

“It’s all about celebrating with the community that has been a big part of the hotel for its 40 years,” he said. “We cannot move forward without our community.”

Horner has been general manager at the Keauhou property for more than two years.

“I’d known about the hotel for a long time and always felt it was a special place,” he said. “The first time I walked onto the property, I felt chicken skin. You get such a strong spiritual sense. It’s very powerful.”

Banquet captain Paul Devich said his four years working at the hotel have been a great experience.

“Even if I’m having a bad day, when I drive up onto this property, it’s a good day,” he said. “This place is just blessed.”

To coincide with the anniversary, the resort has adopted an ongoing cultural program with daily activities that are free and open to hotel guests and the public.

The new Huakai department offers a variety of opportunities for residents and visitors to immerse themselves in the history, culture and landscape of the area. Property tours, Hawaiian language classes, ancient Hawaiian games, lessons in hula auana (modern) and hula kahiko (ancient), lei making, ukulele lessons, arts and craft demonstrations by area kupuna, and monthly arts and craft fairs are on the regular scheduled.

“Not only do we overlook some of the most beautiful tide pools and coral reefs in all of Hawaii, our resort offers a unique slice of Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage with many sacred sites and native artifacts found right here on our grounds,” Horner said.

Guiding the hotel’s new Huakai department is cultural director Kumu Keala Ching, a well-known Hawaiian cultural educator, composer, song writer, and spiritual advisor to many Hawaiian organizations.

Ching also is a recognized kumu hula, having trained under the guidance of hula masters such as the late Darrel Ihiihilauakea Lupenui and Loea Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett.

Ching, who holds a degree in early childhood education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is fluent in the Hawaiian language, which he uses as the foundation for all of his teachings. He is a practitioner of hooponopono, the ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness.

“The story of Keauhou is a rich and sacred one,” Ching said. “I am thrilled to have the privilege of guiding the Keauhou Beach Resort’s new cultural program and providing our guests and visitors with a deeper connection to our land and its people through a full schedule of hands-on activities and property tours. I truly believe once people have had the opportunity to learn more about the history, culture and landscape of this very special place, they will return to their own homes with a better understanding and more complete appreciation of Hawaii.

In ancient times, the Keauhou area was known for its royal fishponds, freshwater bathing pools and as a landing site for canoes. Hawaiian royalty once lived and played in this area, and it is said women of the chieftain class would hold birthing rites at the Hapaialii Heiau, one of two ancient temples located on the Keauhou Beach Resort’s property, in order to instill great spiritual power within their children.

Nearby are two massive kuula stones, reputed to have been transported over 100 miles from a neighboring island. Early canoe-faring people believed that prayers and offerings left at such kuula stones would bring luck to their fishermen.

The hotel grounds also include a replica of King David Kalakaua’s summer cottage, which was rebuilt on its foundation after the original home was destroyed in the mid-1900s. Fresh water springs, believed to have once been used as bathing pools by members of Hawaii’s royal families, surround the area. Native plants including kukui, niu, kou, noni, hala and ki are landscaped throughout the resort.

— Find out more:
Keauhou Beach Resort: 324-2515, www.keauhoubeachresort.com

A young fan checks out the entertainment at the Keauhou Beach Resort 40th anniversary celebration. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

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