The ceremony was conducted in front of the Bishop Museum’s Castle Memorial Building, which is hosting “The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu” exhibit this month. Ige said the exhibit highlights that Native Hawaiians had a special and respected place for residents of dual identity. “‘The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu’ exhibition explores the past and contemporary meanings of four large stones that were long ago placed on Waikīkī Beach to honor four māhū, extraordinary individuals of dual male and female spirit, who brought healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaiʻi,” according to the Bishop Museum website. “We are here today to not only to acknowledge that rich history, but also to signify that moving forward, we are redoubling our efforts to be a more inclusive community in total,” Ige said during the bill signing ceremony.

A famed legend in Hawaiian lore tells the story of the mahu, healers who encapsulate both male and female elements. In the story, four healers arrived from Tahiti and shared their spiritual gifts with residents of the islands, who were so grateful that they erected four large stones as monuments of tribute. On June 18, the Bishop Museum in Honolulu opened an exhibition that begins with an animated portrayal of the story and is comprised of various artifacts from the Hawaiian healing traditions. The animation will be shown in both English and ʻōlelo Niʻihau, the form of the Hawaiian language most untouched by foreign contact.

The Bishop Museum opened a bilingual exhibit in English and ʻŌlelo Niʻihau on the history of māhū over the weekend. Māhū means to have a dual male and female spirit. The plaque in front of the stone provides a story about the healers, but omits any detail on their gender.

Hawaii Governor David Ige chose The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu exhibition at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, which represents Hawaii's long history of acceptance and inclusion, as the backdrop for the signing of three bills passed by the State Legislature to address needs and concerns of the Mahu / LGBTQ+ community.

New “Kapaemahu” Exhibit at Bishop Museum

When you’re walking through Waikiki, next to the police station there are four stones within a fenced enclosure. It’s known as the Wizard Stones, but that is not the most accurate depiction of what they are and the stories they share. At the Bishop Museum, there is a brand new exhibit entitled “The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu” to help all of us to learn more about these stones and the message that it carries.

Governor David Ige signed three bills into law today at the Bishop Museum that protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ communities in Hawaii. On the same day of the historic signing of the 3 bills that protect the Mahu and LGBTQ community, the Healer stones of the Kapaemahu Exhibition opened at the museum.

Come for Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu’s beautifully structured retelling of a Hawaiian legend about a quartet of mahu (dual-spirit) healers that was nearly lost to historical bigotry, stay for the dynamically produced soundscape that so effectively layers Wong-Kalu’s bilingual narration with traditional drumming, dramatized ritual chanting, and the sound of the ocean that, should you go sit in the sunshine and close your eyes while listening, you’ll be hard-pressed not to believe you’ve been transported through both time and space.

For the first time in U.S. history a picture book has been published in both English and Olelo Niihau. Olelo Niihau is the only form of Hawaiian that has been continuously spoken since the overthrown of the Hawaiian Queen. Joining GMH is Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu and Dean Hamer the authors of ‘Kapeamahu’

Moving across the Pacific to Hawaii finds Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, the co-creator, with Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, of the glorious picture book Kapaemahu (2022). The mythic legend of the Kapaemahu regales four Tahitian healers who arrived in Waikiki centuries ago. Neither male nor female, “they were mahu—a mixture of both in mind, heart, and spirit,” the book reveals. The people built a monument in gratitude, but the “four great boulders” eventually disappeared in the wake of U.S. colonialism and destructive tourism. The stones were finally recovered, but without their history: “The fact that the healers were mahu has been erased.” Kapaemahu reclaims the monument’s true origins by honoring the mahu. - School Library Journal

“The award-winning production team of Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson now sets their script onto the page, resulting in a spectacular picture book featuring stills from animation director Daniel Sousa's moving images… Sousa's full-page bleeds and saturated palette of predominantly deep earth colors display potent images that can't--won't--be contained. Light heightens Sousa's superb imagery: glowing golds underscore gentle strength; soft, wispy white captures healing energy; fiery reds display the mahus' tenacious fortitude. Power continues to flow through transparent prose and magnificent visuals, gifting audiences with ancient insights celebrating acceptance and inspiring strength… A lauded animated short film about powerful ancient third-gender healers in Hawaii gets transformed into a glorious picture book reclamation.” - by Terry Hong in the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Centerʻs Book Dragon

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