LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — Statues of past island royalty will soon begin their reign in front of a Hawaii museum.
Life-sized, bronze statues of the last king and queen of Kauai and Niihau were expected to be unveiled in a ceremony Saturday at the Kauai Museum in Lihue, The Garden Island reported Friday.
The museum and archive on the eastern side of Kauai focuses on the indigenous and immigrant people of the two islands.
Kauai residents Billy and Luella Lemn conceived the idea and Billy Lemn produced the drawings of King Kaumualii and Queen Deborah Kapule that are being used as a basis for the life-sized statues by Chris O’Conner of Kauai.
Including O’Conner as the designer was key to the project because he is one of only two artists in the state who creates bronze statues, said museum director Chucky Boy Chock.
Prototypes will stand in while O’Conner completes construction of the monuments.
Chock believes the project will generate interest in local history while honoring great island leaders.
“The educational component is the most valuable piece in this,” he said.
The statues will be welcoming while providing an educational entry point, Luella Lemn said.
“I realized a lot of kids had no clue as to the history of their island or of Hawaii,” the former teacher said.
Kaumualii was a strong but kind ruler, according to Billy Lemn, who said the project’s intent is to leave a sense of Kaumualii’s presence and remind visitors that “at one time this was a kingdom, ruled by kings.”