UH Hilo Women’s Center

Mighty Woman of the Month

Princess Lydia Liliuokalani Kawānanakoa

Black and White photo of Lei Day celebration

Black and White photot of Princess Kawānanakoa


Princess Lydia Liliuokalani Kawānanakoa, during her lifetime was one of the contributors towards the first official Lei Day in 1928. She is the youngest daughter of the House of Kawānanakoa, the founder of the Kona Hawaiian Civic Club. She moved to San Francisco for her education, was known for her bobbed hair and as being a “flapper” during this era. She passed away from cancer on May 19, 1969. As we have to stay at home through this month of May, the Womenʻs Center hopes you can still take some time to maybe even make a lei and gift it to your Kupuna or to the class of 2020. Stay safe everyone.

"Let everyone wear a lei and give a lei. Let it be a day of general rejoicing over the fact that one lived in a Paradise."

— Don Blanding, originator of Lei Day