Participants gather around Hawaiian Historian Waianuhea Ah Quin to partake in a free walking tour of Waikiki. The Queen's Tour shut down last week due to lack of funding.

Native group seeks
revival of walking
tour in Waikiki

A free guided walking tour that tells the story of Waikiki's rich history was temporarily shut down last week due to a lack of funding.

But members of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association hope to find sponsors to revive the tour that has educated hundreds of visitors, residents and children.

"In this day and age, you see condominiums, you see hotels," said program director Dorien McClellan. "You don't see the stories."

For 2 1/2 years, the nonprofit organization held the Queen's Tour from Kapiolani Park to the Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel on Kalakaua Avenue. The tour closed on Thursday.

It was part of the Waikiki Historic Trail. The other part is the native Hawaiian Cultural Tour or Kalia Tour covering the grounds at Fort DeRussy and the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

About $220,000 in cash and in-kind money from a handful of sponsors that went to support the Queen's Tour had been exhausted, but the Kalia tour is a paid tour sponsored by Bishop Museum and the Hilton Hawaiian Village. McClellan said the association will continue to hold tours for special tour groups.

Over the past year, nearly 4,000 people have taken the Queen's Tour, said McClellan. E-mails and postcards from visitors and residents alike have thanked the association for arranging such a tour, she said.

"It's just not a feel good tour. It's a factual, historic tour," said board member Cha Thompson.

Historian George Kanahele, who died in September 2000, envisioned a historic trail to promote cultural values and bring aloha back to the islands. Architect Chris Palumbo carried out Kanahele's vision after he died and helped garner support from city officials, hotels and agencies.

Members are applying for grants and plan to solicit prospective sponsors in hopes of resuming the Queen's Tour on Sept. 1.

McClellan said it will cost sponsors about $5,000 a month to fund the tour's administrative costs, historians and brochures.

Those who are interested in becoming a sponsor can call the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association at 841-6442.


E-mail to City Desk


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