NORTH KOHALA, Hawaii: There was an emptiness at this year’s Kamehameha Day celebration in North Kohala; a spot usually reserved for the hard working kupuna, Aunty Mabel Tolentino, was vacant this year.
Organizers set aside a small memorial for Aunty Mabel at the base of the King Kamehameha statue, where she assisted in the annual lei draping ceremony for so long.
As a member of the Waimea Hawaiian Civic Club, Aunty Mabel was also instrumental in making Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site a National Park back in 1972.
Over the years she has played an important role in the annual Hawaiian Cultural Festival. In addition, Aunty Mabel performed weekly lei demonstrations at the park, six months out of the year.
She will be a deeply missed figure in the Kohala region.