Reproduction artifacts on display in Queen’s Bedroom

HONOLULU (Feb. 12, 2019) – In a continued effort to enrich the visitor experience and restore Queen Kapiolani’s bedroom to its monarchy era splendor, Iolani Palace installed two new kahili following cultural protocol on the evening of February 11, 2019, to celebrate the anniversary of the 1883 Coronation on February 12. They will be on display in the Queen’s Bedroom on the Palace’s second floor.

“Following our recent kahili installation in honor of King Kalakaua, Iolani Palace is pleased to unveil the second phase of our kahili project, now celebrating Queen Kapiolani,” said Teresa Valencia, director of curation and education at Iolani Palace. “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with Kawika Lum-Nelmida and his team of traditional feather practitioners.”

Spearheaded by cultural expert and feather work master Kawika Lum-Nelmida, who is also well-versed in both museum conservation and preservation practices, along with Mele Kahalepuna-Chun, work to create the two kahili included preparing and assembling the feather picks, producing the kapa skirts, constructing the poles, and creating the stands. Inspired by the original kahili captured in historic photographs, the resulting Queen’s kahili features more than 10,000 rooster feathers of gold, brown and black hues and displays a feminine appearance with its feathers facing downward to complement the shape of the crown images found throughout the room.

“In undertaking this project, we wanted to reflect Queen Kapiolani’s passion for uniting the larger Hawaii community through traditional Hawaiian cultural practices,” said Lum-Nelmida. “We did so by hosting workshops throughout the process, inviting volunteers to join us and learn how to assemble the picks and branches.”

The two kahili, with heads comprised of furnace hackle feathers, skirts of kapa, poles of ipe wood and stands of African mahogany, reflect the timely importance of this cultural practice that’s still thriving today. Both the Queen’s kahili and previously created King’s kahili were made possible through a gift from the Estate of Princess Reg
ina Kawananakoa.

The kahili were installed on the evening of February 11, so they could be on display the next day to mark the anniversary of the 1883 Coronation on February 12. The protocol included a procession from the ceremonial front steps of Iolani Palace, up the Grand Staircase, and into the Queen’s Bedroom, where the kahili were placed on each side of her bed and given their Hawaiian names of Kaumualii (male) and Kapuaamohu (female), after the Queen’s materna
l grandparents.

About Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace is the only official residence of royalty in the United States. King Kalakaua was the first reigning monarch to travel around the world and built Iolani Palace in 1882 to enhance the prestige of Hawaii overseas and to mark Hawaii’s status as a modern nation. For more information, please call Iolani Palace at (808) 522-0822 or visit

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