Lānaʻi City played host to many community celebrations over the years. While specific ethnic groups organized culture-specific celebrations such as Rizal Day and the annual Bon Dance, the community also came together for many parades and parties for all.
Listen to our stories
This virtual exhibit is the product of the ongoing digitization of our archival collections and features photographs that have never been on exhibit in our physical museum space. As you view the photos, we invite you to listen to stories of Dean Del Rosario (whose father is the photographer of many of the following photos), Albert Morita, and Diane Preza, who all grew up during the plantation days and are deeply rooted to Lānaʻi. While their experiences are their own, we believe many who grew up during this time will find their stories relevant and of value to the greater story of Lānaʻi's community.
Union Hall Festivities
The ILWU Union Hall was an important gathering place throughout the plantation days. It served as a meeting place also as a soup kitchen during the 200-day strike in 1951. Celebrations were often held here, and Filipino dancers are pictured during a community festival.
Hula at the Gym
The "Old Gym" or "County Gym" was the only gym in town during the plantation era. While many sports were enjoyed there, the space was also constantly utilized for performances and celebrations, such as the hula featured here.
Listen to Diane share about the "Old Gym":
There were many talented Lānaʻi musicians who excelled in instruments like the guitar, bass, and ʻukulele. Hawaiian music was a staple at parties and community celebrations. Pictured here are local musicians Clarence Fujimoto (left), Robert Amaral (middle), and Sam Shin (right).
Listen to Diane share about music on Lānaʻi:
Obon is an annual Buddhist event celebrated by Lānaʻi's Japanese community and and is a way to honor one's ancestors. This photo shows the bon dance happening on the field across from the current Hongwanji, where it is still celebrated.
May Day Parade
May Day celebrations during the plantation days included festive parades with floats and a May Day court. The photo of the float here was captured on Lānaʻi Avenue, and the rooftop of the theater can be seen in the background.
Pictured is a gathering of employees who worked at the Labor Yard (today's Fleet Yard) enjoying a pau hana gathering. Shop workers were extremely innovative, often fabricating tools or pieces to improve the efficiency of the machinery.
Listen to Albert share about the shop gang:
Fourth of July
Fourth of July celebrations included a lively parade with many floats and organizations participating. The entire community would come out to enjoy the festivities with their families.
Listen to Dean share final thoughts on the plantation community:
Singers at Homecoming
July 4th Parade
Help us honor their legacy
Lānaʻi City has changed much over the past 100 years, but the values that emerged from the plantation community remain valuable. The shared experience of Lānaʻi people during the plantation days created the foundation of our local culture today. This virtual exhibit has been developed with the hope that people on Lānaʻi and beyond are inspired by the lives plantation people lived--vibrant lives that were so much more than just their work.
Our first ever virtual exhibit is part of the "Our Living History: Lānaʻi Digital Archive" project. We have diligently worked with our archivist to organize and continue digitization of our collections, and this exhibit is a product of our continued commitment to making our history accessible by all.
We hope this is just the beginning. If you have additional contextual information about the photos in this exhibit or your own Lānaʻi family photos to share, we invite you to reach out and join us in our journey to care for our island's rich history, culture, and values.