Releasing exclusively in-store, online, and at Paiʻea Projects’ online shop this Saturday, June 4.
Video and photos: @visionhorsemedia
Healing of the Nation: ‘Āina Ho‘opulapula ma Keaukaha
Pai‘ea Projects, Homesteady, and FITTED honor Prince Kūhiō
Words by Daniel Ikaika Ito of Pai‘ea Projects
Hilo County lifeguard and Alai‘a board builder, Brandon Ahuna, and his ‘ohana are the living the dream of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole (March 26, 1871–January 7, 1922). In the early 1900s when Hawai‘i was still a U.S. Territory, it was the vision of Robert Wilcox and Prince Kūhiō to return the kanaka maoli back to the ‘āina with a land-based government program which we now commonly refer to as Hawaiian Homelands.
In the early 1900s, the Hawaiian population was in a massive decline due to Western diseases like cholera and displaced in their homeland. Many kanaka were living in squalor amongst the urban sprawl of Honolulu, residing in multi-family tenements with inadequate sewage systems and shared bathrooms and kitchens where the spread of disease ran rampant. Kūhiō observed his people’s plight and it was his deep belief that the way to heal the lāhui was to allow the kanaka to become homeowners, work the ‘āina and provide for their ‘ohana in the process.
“The only method to rehabilitate the race is to place them back upon the soil,” stated Kūhiō.
As the Congressional delegate from the Territory of Hawai‘i, the Prince worked tirelessly and accommodatingly to get the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act passed. On July 9, 1921, with numerous concessions like the required 50% blood quantum, the U.S. Congress passed the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, allowing “any descendant of the not less than one-half part of the of the races inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands previous to 1778 [could acquire homestead leases for] one dollar year for a term on ninety-nine years.”
Originally called the Kūhiō Settlement, Keaukaha on Hawai‘i Island, was the second Hawaiian Homestead project, behind Kalama‘ula on Moloka‘i. The significance of this ‘Āina Ho‘opulapula in Hilo was the success of the original homesteaders and how their ‘ohana was allowed to thrive on these lots with 99-year leases. Brandon Ahuna is one of their descendants, living on a Homestead lot in Keaukaha with his two daughters, working the ‘āina with community leaders like Malani Alameda and protecting beach-goers as a lifeguard. Raising mana wahine and the practice of building traditional wooden, finless Hawaiian surfboards is proof that Kūhiō’s dream is being realized today.
In appreciation of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act passed by Congress in 1921, Paiʻea Projects, FITTED Hawaii, and Homesteady have come together to release a special “Kūhiō Collection” on Saturday, June 4. This limited edition release consists of three unique products: a basketball jersey, H Pride New Era snapback, and t-shirt.
The Kūhiō Collection Basketball Jersey features the number 21 (for 1921, the year the Act was passed) stitched on the front and back of a royal blue and gold jersey with white and black accents. The term HOMESTEAD is stitched across the front along with an NBA-inpsired Paiʻea logo above it, while the back features the name PAIEA and the FITTED crown near the top in white. The logos from all three brands are embroidered on the bottom left of the front side.
The Kūhiō Collection H Pride New Era 9FIFTY Snapback features the collection’s signature royal blue and gold colors, along with a kelly green undervisor for an added classic touch. A bonus Paiʻea Projects logo pin is included with every H Pride purchase.
The Kūhiō Collection T-shirt features an illustrated portrait of Prince Kūhiō with his trademark mustache wearing a Paiʻea Projects lapel pin on the front, with stacked logos and “Mahalo e Kuhio” printed on the back.