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Scottish Musical Ambassador, Alasdair FraserWilmont Kahaialii at Maui Arts & Cultural Center Honoring Princess Kaiulani
The Princess Ka'iulani Project - About Us


Honoring Princess Ka'iulani's

heroic stand for her nation, and the friendship

between her dual Hawaiian and Scottish nations.

Our similarities are far greater than our differences.



Debra Lynn and Camille Romero in Ka'iulani Project Presentation, Kula HawaiiThe Ka'iulani Project is made up of many individuals who take part in Ka'iulani Project Presentations, support our efforts, or aid in the research of her untold story. Photos above left: World's Top Scottish Fiddler, Alasdair Fraser, right, Hawaiian Musician and Cultural Speaker, Wilmont Kahaialii in Hawaiian/Scottish Tribute to Princess Ka'iulani at Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Members of the project are now far and wide and committed to revealing Ka'iulani as the heroine she was. Originator of The Ka'iulani Project, Jennifer Fahrni, hopes to further educate herself and others about Ka'iulani's dedication to her people, and her struggle to set the record straight. On this page are members of The Project who have contributed to bringing Ka'iulani and the great musical Kalakaua family to life through presentations in Hawaii. leilani kupahu-marinoWe believe that Ka'iulani can be an inspiration for young people today to stand up and speak for their beliefs, to learn about the history of Ka'iulani's tumultuous political era, and to find their own truths by fully embracing their own history and heritage. Ka'iulani discovered that our similarities are far greater than our differences and became one of the first to start 'building the bridges'. We invite all to join us in continuing her efforts. It is time Ka'iulani was celebrated - here in Hawaii most importantly. Her legacy lives on through the interracial and international population living in the islands today. Photo above right: Debra Lynn and Camille Romero reading Mrs. Davies and Ka'iulani in a scene during a Ka'iulani Project presentation in Kula, Hawaii, 2008.

History of the Princess Ka'iulani Project - The Project began several years ago with the researching of Ka'iulani's life story. Hawaiian organizations noted below, contributed to research, and as scenes of the script were completed, friends were then asked to take part in informal readings. More than 20 versions of the script have since been completed by writers, Jennifer Fahrni and Carol Harvie-Yamaguchi. Upon realizing that the people of Hawaii must be a part of this reawakening of Ka'iulani's memory, as well as a screenplay, the grand plan of a large-scale stage production was also mounted. A series of Ka'iulani Project Events would lead up to the stage premiere, which would be opened by a Princess Ka'iulani Festival - proceeds of the festival to benefit the young people of Hawaii. Photo left: Kumu Hula, Leilani Kupahu-Marino as Ka'iulani in Honolulu, Oahu.

Hamish Burgess Ka'iulani Project member Over the next few years, a new script for the stage was then underway by Fahrni and Harvie-Yamaguchi. While completing the screenplay, Ka'iulani's story, legacy and future plans for the project were shared with our close friends in Maui's bagpipe band. For several years, Jennifer Fahrni and Hamish Burgess publicized, produced concerts, and donated their funds to the Isle of Maui Pipe Band. It was upon learning of the Clehorn family in Hawaii, that Hamish and Jennifer took on this new cause of further researching Ka'iulani's life, and bringing her voice back to young people today. They set out on a mission to "Celebrate the Friendship between Ka'iulani's Hawaiian and Scottish Cultures". This lead to the first public reading of the original script in April 2008. Friends, actors and musicians participated the "Ka'iulani, The Island Rose" reading, directd by David Johnstone, Executive and Artistic Director of the Maui Academy of Performing Arts at the Steppingstone Playhouse in Kahului, Maui. The reading (which included Hawaiian music and Scottish bagpipes) was well-received with a standing ovation from a Maui audience. Since then, Ka'iulani Project Presentations have been produced many events in Hawaii, including Maui Arts & Cultural Cener, the Hawaiian/Scottish Festival in Honolulu, and The Royal Mausoleum in Nuuanu, Oahu where the entire Royal Family is laid to rest.

We recognize Ka'iulani struggle to set the record straight and are committed to do the same. Photo right: Hamish Burgess of Maui Celtic, Scottish Ambassador for The Ka'iulani Project, who took Ka'iulani's heroic story to her father's homeland in 2009.

There has been considerable attention by both the community and the media. Great support and open discussion with other Ka'iulani researchers and scholars has begun a valuable dialogue through email, and last year, the Ka'iulani Connections Blog was set up for further discussions and research resources. We are also making contact with individuals and corporations with similar views and wish to join the project through sponsorship.

Kathy Collins reads Princess Ka'iulani in Ka'iulani The Island RoseOur goal is to reveal Ka’iulani as the heroine she was,

a Princess who fought for her nation in it’s hour of need.

Ka'iulani's story of determination and courage is a story for our time. Through her struggle to embrace her dual heritage, she found the inner strength to speak for her nation in its darkest hour. The play challenges us to examine the prejudices and misunderstandings that tear us apart. And her story compels us to embrace diversity as the foundation upon which we build our greatness.

New information on Ka'iulani's life has been revealed. Fahrni, who has been researching the princess's life since 2002, has recently found several significant connections Ka'iulani made during her years in England and Scotland and now is working with a woman who has been tracking Ka'iulani's travels there in the 1890's and continues to inform those the Scots of the connections Ka'iulani created with Scotland during her later years in Europe. The Project will serve as a research aid and gathering place for those who have dedicated their time to researching the true story of Ka'ulani. Photo left: Maui Celebrity, Kathy Collins.

Leilani Kupau-Marino and Brian Dinsmore as Ka'iulani and Archibald CleghornAfter struggling with the separation from her island home, this 'daughter of a double race' fully embraced her heritage and decided to speak for her nation. With this action, Ka'iulani made the first step in forever changing the word's view of the Hawaiian people. Photo right: Leilani Kupahu-Marino and Brian Dinsmore playing Ka'iulani and her father, Archibald Cleghorn at the Hawaiian Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Honolulu, HI.

First Performance Reading of "Ka'iulani - The Island Rose" at the Steppingstone Theater Playhouse in April of 2008 was the first event in Maui that celebrated the Hawaiian and Scottish cultures on one stage. It was the culmination of several years' work and a great many people's efforts, previewed the upcoming large-scale production to be premiered on Maui before traveling throughout the state. Used throughout our reading were Scottish bagpipes as well as Hawaiian chants and hula to help depict the moving life story of Princess Victoria Ka'iulani. “Ka'iulani - The Island Rose” was presented publicly last April to a standing ovation and more than favorable input from the press and community.


Wilmont Kahaialii in Ka'iulani Project Presentation at Maui Arts & Cultural CenterThe Ka'iulani Project, which underwent a full blessing on Hawaiian burial grounds, empowers multicultural children of Hawaii to fully embrace their heritage to find their own truths by fully embracing their own heritage. Ka'iulani discovered that our similarities are far greater than our differences and became one of the first to start 'building the bridges'. Photo left: Wilmont Kamaunu Kahaialii Jr. honors Princess Ka'iulani at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. VIDEO CLIP of Wilmont with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas performing a Tribute to Princess Ka'iulani.

Goals of The Ka'iulani Project

  1. To empower multicultural children to fully embrace their roots, overcome life's setbacks and thus create a solid base from where to achieve great things.
  2. Promote understanding between the cultures by revealing that our similarities are far greater than our differences and continue Ka'iulani's efforts to Build the Bridges”.
  3. Reveal Ka'iulani as the true heroine she was - a Princess who fought for her nation in its hour of need.
  4. Bring people to Hawaii from Canada, Scotland and the mainland US to celebrate this child of the world.
  5. Include and promote both Hawaiian and Scottish cultural organizations throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
  6. Demonstrate that because of their similarities, the Scots have always been and continue to be great supporters of the Hawaiian culture.

Leilani, Kimo Kahoano and Brian Dinsmore

Marketing of this project will encompass print ads and news articles in Hawaii, Canada, the mainland US and Scotland. This has already begun - Press Coverage.

Ka'iulani's enthralling story of courage and dedication is relatively unknown; few people are aware that Ka'iulani was half Hawaiian and half Scottish, and fewer still that she was successful in her efforts to change the face of the Hawaiian people in the eyes of the world. It is a concern that her love and commitment to her people has been nearly forgotten.

Ka'iulani Project Events are produced throughtout Hawaii to spread the word of Ka'iulani's untold story and the ultimate objective of bringing her life to the stage. We are honored with the acknowledgement of The Office of Hawaiian Affairs as well as a variety of top Hawaiian artists actors, musicians, pipers, and hula dancers, who have gladly donated their time and energy to celebrate the memory of Princess Ka'iulani in these events. We feel that our message is necessary and timely, particularly now, during this era of global misunderstandings between and within borders. Now, more than ever, we must open our minds and celebrate all the cultures that make up our global population. Photo right: Leilani Kupahu-Marino, Kimo Kaho'ano and Brian Dinsmore in Honolulu, Oahu.

Camille Romero reading Princess Ka'iulai in Ka'iulani The island RoseResearch for this project includes information from numerous archival newspaper articles, personal letters of the Royal Family from the National Archives at Iolani Palace, books, plays, interviews, and documentaries. Those assisting in the research of this project include Daughters of Hawaii, The Hawaiian Historical Society, Hawaii State Archives at Iolani Palace, The Bishop Museum and The Hawaiian Collection at UH Manoa Library, among others. The Project also intends to serve as a research aid and gathering place for those wishing to locate previous works about Ka'ulani and Scots in Hawaii, such as written works by Nancy and Francis Webb, Sharon Linnea, Kristin Zambucka, Marilyn Stassen-McLaughlin, Mindi Reid, Allan Seiden, The Caledonian Society of Hawaii and more, as well as other theatrical works including Victoria Kneubuhl's, "Ka'iulani: A Cantata for the Theatre". Photo left: Camille Romero.

To contribute information or comment on the project and events, please email us or post comments on the Ka'iulani Connections Blog.


Wimont Kamaunu Kahaialii as King KamehamehaJohn Crowe as A.S CleghornThrough telling Ka'iulani's inspiring story, we hope to empower and encourage children with a multicultural heritage to nurture both sides of their legacy and that the self is strengthened by the acknowledgment of one's roots. As Ka'iulani discovers, empowerment lies in a healthy balance of one's dual nature. The young princess spent years learning about both sides of her ancestry so that she could live to her fullest potential. Photo left: John Crowe

The Ka'iulani Project events will continue to lead up to the opening night of "Ka'iulani - The Island Rose". We hope to open with a Gala and gallery exhibition of letters and photos, with representatives from Hawaiian and Scottish cultural groups to supply information about their organizations to the public.

We feel that our message is necessary and timely, particularly now, when a greater understanding of each other is much needed. Now, more than ever, we must open our minds and celebrate all the cultures that make up our population.


Princess Victoria Ka'iulai CleghornScotland's Sunday Post, Glasgow Scotland:
"Jennifer Fahrni, a Canadian born actress says the event can be a vital reminder of the Scottish strand in Hawaii's identity...
Princess Ka'iulani has been forgotten and it's time she was celebrated. She was heir to the Hawaiian throne and would have been queen had the US not illegally taken the islands. At 11 she was sent to a school in Northamptonshire by King Kalakaua to get an education fit for a future queen....
While there she visited her father's homeland several times. It's believed Robert Louis Stevenson shared legends and folk tales of Scotland with her, bolstering her courageous spirit, which shone through when she returned to Hawaii in the late 1890s.”
Ms. Fahrni said, "Embracing both her Scottish and Hawaiian ancestries, Ka'iulani found the strength to single-handedly influence the American President to delay Hawaii's annexation to the US This amazing achievement took the American press by storm and changed the world's view of the Hawaiian people ... But in the last 100 years or so years Ka'iulani's story has been nearly forgotten. She lived a life to be remembered...

Hawaii's The Maui News:
"It has been almost 110 years since the death of 'The People's Princess' and for most of that time, due to the suppression of all things Hawaiian that did not boost tourist trade, her story seemed lost to all but Hawaiian elders and historians. Nowadays it is apparent that this lost princess is lost no longer ... A new play is in the works, "Ka'iulani, The Island Rose," presented earlier on Maui at a staged reading."

Read Additional News Articles

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Photos on this page: Ka'iulani Project members,Wilmont Kamaunu Kahaialii, Leilani Kupahu-Marino, Hamish Burgess, Kathy Collins, Roger McKinley, Camille Romero, Debra Lynn and John Crowe. Photo of Princess Victoria Ka'iulani Cleghorn courtesy of Hawaii State Archives at Iolani Palace.



Contact information jjfahrni@shaw.ca
Hawaii phone.808.264.5190, mail. PO Box 1323, Lahaina, Hawaii 96767-1323
Canada phone.604.224.6200 or 604.922.4655, mail. 4686 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6R1L1 Canada

All material on this site is Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 by Jennifer Fahrni and The Kaiulani Project unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.

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