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Inauguration cast as ‘return to tradition’

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Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie’s much-promised "New Day in Hawaii" will break in a most traditional setting tomorrow as Abercrombie and Lt. Gov.-elect Brian Schatz are sworn in to office on the grounds of Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu.

INAUGURATION OF NEIL ABERCROMBIE AND BRIAN SCHATZ

Tomorrow
Ceremony: 9:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. Iolani Palace

Entertainment: Niu Valley Middle School Band; Hawaii Youth Opera; 111th Army Band; Willie K; Aaron Mahi and David Kamakahi; Richard Hoopii; Robert Cazimero; Kealoha; Beamer-Solomon Halau ‘O Po’ohala; Kokua Kalihi Senior Group, and the Latter Day Saints Tongan Choir.

Post-Inauguration Celebration Luau: 1 to 4 p.m.
Hawaii Sate Art Museum

Entry: Use the King Street entrance; other entrances will have limited access. Those with tickets are advised to be in their seats by 11:15 a.m. or the seats will be given to others.

Parking: Limited parking in nearby lots. Public is encouraged to carpool or find alternative transportation to the event. Shuttle service will not be available.

Water: Water jugs will be available at the ceremony and the luau and the public is encouraged to bring their own reusable cups or water bottles to minimize trash. Bottled water will not be available.

Gifts: The public is asked not to bring gifts or boxes for Abercrombie or Schatz to the ceremony. Gifts may be dropped off or delivered to their offices after the ceremony. Lei will be accepted.

Salute: A 19-gun salute will follow the administration of the Oath of Office for Abercrombie. The public is advised not to be alarmed.

The setting will be the palace’s coronation pavilion, constructed for the coronation of King David Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani in 1883. It served as the inauguration site for each of Hawaii’s governors until outgoing Gov. Linda Lingle broke with tradition in 2002 and was sworn in to office in the state Capitol rotunda.

More than 5,000 people are expected to be on hand to see the 72-year-old Abercrombie take the oath of office as Hawaii’s seventh elected governor, reclaiming Washington Place after eight years of Republican control.

"Having this inauguration at Iolani Palace will be a historic return to tradition, but we also hope it will be inspiring," said inauguration coordinator Karey Oura Kapoi. "During his campaign, Neil talked about a new day in Hawaii. For those of us who worked hard for Neil to become governor, that day officially starts (tomorrow)."

The inauguration ceremony and its related events are expected to cost just less than $200,000, which will be covered by proceeds from a gala event in Waikiki this Thursday.

Kapoi, founder of Maui-based Island Soul Entertainment, said that while taxpayers will not foot the bill for the celebration (beyond the hourly wages of public workers directly involved in the events), Abercrombie wants to avoid the appearance of excess while the state is still trying to regain its economic footing.

"We want this to be a celebration, but we also want be sensitive to the times we’re in," Kapoi said.

Thus, in addition to big-name performers like Willie K and Richard Hoopii — who will volunteer their time to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "Hawaii Ponoi," respectively — the ceremony will also feature performers representing a variety of communities around the state.

As a U.S. representative, Abercrombie joined U.S. Education Undersecretary Peter Cunningham on a visit to Niu Valley Intermediate in 2009. The school’s 65-member band will kick off the inauguration celebration with a 20-minute performance under the direction of Wayne Fanning, Kent Miyashiro and Zachary Morita.

CONFIRMATION CEREMONIES

Molokai
Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Kalanianaole Hall

Lanai
Thursday, 9 to 11 a.m., International Longshore and Warehouse Union Hall

Maui
Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Lahainaluna High School Football Field

Big Island Kau: Dec. 12, 10 a.m. to noon, Plantation House , Pahala

Waimea: Dec. 13, 4 to 6 p.m., Kuhio Hale (Hawaiian Homes Hall)

Kauai
Dec. 15, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Hikina O Ka La Heiau (Wailua)

The event also will feature performances by the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus’ SCELTO and Na Leo Kuhookahi ensembles, Aaron Mahi and Dennis Kamakahi, the 111th Army Band, Beamer Solomon Halau O Poohala, and the Latter Day Saints Tongan Choir. The Kokua Kalihi Valley Seniors Group, with whom Abercrombie visited during his campaign, will also be on hand to sing "Good Luck, Good Health, God Bless You."

Former state Rep. Tony Takitani will serve as emcee.

The festivities begin at 9:45 a.m. Associate Justice James Duffy will administer the oaths of office at noon, as mandated by the Hawaii Constitution, followed by speeches by Schatz and Abercrombie.

The ceremony will be followed by a celebratory luau on the grounds of the Hawaii State Art Museum.

"Neil’s style of leadership is to empower other people — he’s far from a micromanager — but he did want to see certain elements in this event," Kapoi said. "The performances and the luau were all his idea."

So, too, Kapoi said, was the idea of following up the official inauguration with a series of confirmation ceremonies on the neighbor islands over the next week and a half to demonstrate that his administration will not be "Oahu-centric."

"Neil wants this to be as inclusive as possible," said Kapoi. "There will be tradition and protocol, but not a lot of pomp and circumstance. We want this to be about the community. We want people to walk away feeling very proud of the leaders they have put in place and encouraged by the four years ahead of us."

 

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