Queen Emma Summer Palace – Nuʻuanu, Oʻahu

Hawaii, Museums

Tour the Summer Home used by Queen Emma & her family as a retreat from Palace life in hot & dusty Honolulu.

It is starting to heat up here in the Pacific! I’ve been wanting to visit the Queen Emma Summer Palace for a while & was in search of something cool to do (literally). Located just ten minutes from Downtown Honolulu, this historic retreat worked out perfectly! After looking around the home & gift shop, the terrace and surrounding botanical garden is a beautiful space to relax.

Mahalo to the Daughters of Hawai’i for maintaining this wonderful estate to be shared with future generations and visitors alike.


Open Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

$10 General Admission / $8 Kama’aina / $1 Children

2913 Pali Highway

Honolulu, HI 96817

Built in 1848


The home, named The Southern Cross, was built in 1848 by John Lewis, a Honolulu businessman, who purchased the property from the Hawaiian Government. Lewis, who wanted a New England-style home, had the house frame and siding cut in Boston and shipped to Hawaii via Cape Horn. The structure is one of the few remaining examples of Greek Revival architecture in the islands.

In 1850, the property was sold to Queen Emma’s uncle, John Young II, for $6,000 and given the name Hānaiakamalama – after his ancestral home on the Island of Hawai’i. In 1857, Young, then childless, willed the home to young Emma. It was at Hānaiakamalama that King Kamehameha IV, Queen Emma, and their young son, Prince Albert Edward, enjoyed the cool breeze of Nu’uanu and bonded as a family.

After Emma’s death in 1885, the home was purchased by the monarchial government and leased. In the early 1900’s, the property was owned by the Territorial government. Plans brewing to turn the property into a park were to threaten the historic home; thus, the Daughters of Hawai’i intervened to restore and furnish the building to open it as a museum.

The Daughters of Hawai’i

The Daughters of Hawai’i manages and maintains this home and Hulihe’e Palace in Kailua-Kona. Both properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Foreseeing the loss of Hawaiian culture and historic sites, seven women founded the Daughters of Hawai’i in 1903 to “perpetuate the memory and spirit of old Hawai’i and of historic facts and to preserve the nomenclature and correct pronunciation of the Hawaiian language.” Members throughout the world continue this mission today.

Edinburgh Ballroom

The ballroom at the rear of the home was built in 1869 by Queen Emma as an addition. This room was built in honor of the Duke of Edinburgh, the first prince from Europe to visit the Hawaiian Kingdom.

This ballroom has beautiful chandeliers, wallpaper & carpeting. Another notable feature is the handblown concave and convex glass panes, which are rare.


The home features a number of portraits of past rulers of the Kingdom of Hawai’i. Many of the monarchs focused on strengthening Hawai’i as an independent nation and traveling abroad to secure ties with foreign countries. Each portrait on the wall of the home represents the monarchial era surrounding the furnishing of the Palace, and helps give insight into what Hawai’i was like during the life of Queen Emma.

Cloak Room

Kahili served to formally identify the ruling class at ceremonies and celebrations. The royal feather cloak or ‘ahu ‘ula is constructed of very fine ‘olonā cordage holding clusters of thousands of tiny red feathers of the native ‘i’iwi and yellow feathers of the native mamo – both of which are now extinct. The cloak make its way to St. Augustine’s Theological Seminary at Canterbury, England where it was later purchased by the Hite Family and donated by Mrs. Charles Hite to the Daughters of Hawai’i.

The koa cabinet displays feather capes which were worn across the shoulders of royal women and chiefs.

The large Hawaiian wooden bowls or ‘umeke were used for housekeeping purposes and to store poi and other foods. ‘Umeke were also stacked like a chest of drawers to store clothing and bedding.

Queen Emma’s Case

Queen Consort Emma was born in 1836 to High Hawaiian Chief George Na’ea and Fanny Young. At her birth, she became the hanai (adopted) daughter to her mother’s sister, Grace Young, and husband, Dr. Thomas Rooke.

As a young girl, Emma attended the Chief’s Children School, where she met her future husband, Alexander. When the school closed in 1850, she continued her studies with a private tutor and spent a great deal of time with her father at his medical dispensary. Some of her hobbies included sewing, playing piano, and horseback riding.

Upon Alexander’s return from his travels abroad, and after taking the throne, he courted Emma for her hand in marriage. The young couple married in 1856, and their son was born two years later.


Lei Hulu

Lei Hulu, or feather lei, were commonly worn around the neck or head by royal women.

Lei niho palaoa (unpictured) are lei made of long strands of braided hair and hold a hook-shaped piece of ivory made from a sperm whale tooth.



Kapa, or tapa, usually refers to the fabric made from tree bark and worn as clothing or used as blankets.

Christening Vessel

The silver christening vessel was a gift from Queen Victoria of England, the little Prince’s godmother. It was sent to Hawai’i with holy water for his baptism.

King Kamehameha IV & Queen Emma were responsible for bringing the Anglican Church to Hawai’i. King Kamehameha IV also dedicated most of his final months to translating the Anglican Book of Common Prayer into the Hawaiian language. The first edition of his translation was published prior to Queen Emma’s departure to Europe. She took copies with her and gave them as gifts on her journey.

Heir to the Hawaiian Monarchy

Prince Albert Edward Kauikeaouli Kaleiopapa Kamehameha

“Haku” was the only son of King Kamehameha IV & Queen Consort Emma. His godmother was Queen Victoria II of England. Tragically, the young prince passed away at the age of four from brain fever.

Queen Emma’s koa bed with spool posts and beaded trim.
Prince Albert’s koa four poster crib, the work of Wilhem Fischer. It is placed under a koa diadem once used to support moisquito netting.
Prince Albert Edward’s cradle, commissioned by the King and Queen at his birth, is regarded as a state treasure and memorial to the Prince. It was designed and built by German craftsman Wilhelm Fischer of four native woods – koa, kou, milo, and kamani.

The Little Prince

On the top shelf of the display cabinet is a miniature chief’s helmet made from ‘ie’ie rootlets. This small headpiece or mahiole is without feathers and is said to have been made for the Prince. The display cabinet also holds Prince Albert Edward’s red fireman’s jacket, silver cup, and other personal effects.

Prince Albert Edward’s bathtub of porcelain in a koa stand (unpictured) was a gift of a Chinese emperor.

Front Bedroom

Originally in the home, this room was used as a dining room. It is believed that the cook house and maid quarters would have been located outside near Prince Albert’s Terrace. When Queen Emma returns to this home, after losing her son and husband, she turns this room into her bedroom. It is unknown how the room would have been set up or what furniture was here.

Queen Emma’s sleigh bed, another fine koa piece by Wilhelm Fischer, is decorated with a crown of inlaid mother-of-pearl and brass. An identical bed was made for Kamehameha IV.

The large four poster bed is made out of koa wood and was commissioned by Kamehameha III. Acorns represents fertility, feathers represents royalty, pineapple represents hospitality, and the eagles clawing at the base of the bed represents strength. This bed later became Queen Emma’s.


In 1865, Queen Emma began her mission to raise money to build the first Anglican cathedral in Hawai’i. She set sail to England and upon her arrival was presented to Queen Victoria. The two women befriended each other, and Emma was gifted with a bracelet containing a lock of Queen Victoria’s hair. She also visited France, where she met the Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie, from whom she received the stereopticon and matching chair.

During her time home, she was very much a hostess. She received the tiger claw necklace with rolled gold and seed pearls from a maharajah of India. She also received the amethyst bracelet from the Duke of Edinburgh.

On her stop through the United States, she purchased the Collard & Collard piano, which she later donated to Saint Andrew’s Priory for Girls.

Queen Emma’s Legacy

Queen Emma was known as the Queen of People’s Hearts, and was dedicated to the health, education, and future generations of her people. Emma and Alexander founded

Emma and Alexander founded the Queen’s Medical Center, with concern for the Native people of Hawai’i during a time when epidemics were spreading through the islands. They used money from their personal funds in addition to asking friends for donations. The hospital is the oldest and largest in Hawai’i, with 70 locations throughout the Islands.

At the request of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma, in 1863, St. Alban’s College in Pauoa, O’ahu was established and later became ‘Iolani School.

After losing her son and husband, and having no room on the royal burial grounds (Pohukaina), Queen Emma wanted to build a mausoleum for them. Kamehameha V wanted the Kamehameha family buried there, and soon it became the royal mausoleum. In 1863, Mauna Ala was founded and after being completed, Emma is said to have stayed by her family for two weeks, mourning their deaths.

During Queen Emma’s travel abroad, she managed to raise $16,000 to use in the building of St. Andrew’s Cathedral. She would also found the Priory for Girls, which remains an all-girl school today in honor of her legacy.

Queen Emma was said to have over 600 books in her personal collection and, upon passing, she left them to the Honolulu Library and Reading Room Association – which helped the Hawaii State Library System grow to where it is today.

Interview with Toqa Designer, Aiala


The Hawaii local created the future of runway with a fashion film

I grew up with one of the designers of Toqa, Aiala, and wanted to feature their newest collection: Moodyisle! I am so proud of her & so excited to feature my interview with her on her life as a young designer.

Can you tell me a little about your creative process? 

Each collection for me starts with daydreaming and adventuring. Then comes a lot of research, doodles, sourcing fabric, patternmaking, textile manipulation, fitting, sizing, then photographing & filming the final product. Each part is really exciting to me. I love the freedom at the start of every project we do, the big ideas and world building that may or may never come to fruition. And when the clothes or objects are finalized, next comes showing it in that world-which is the cherry on top! 

Being born into a family of artists, was your style shaped by your upbringing? 

Definitely. Growing up my parents gave me the freedom to follow my passions. They set an example for craft and perseverance. Just watching what they accomplish as artists made me believe in myself. I look up to them so incredibly much. Their work inspires me and I feel bLeSS3d to have been raised by them. 

How has your label evolved & what can we expect next?

Toqa started as a caterpillar and I think the next collection will be the full metamorphosis into a butterfly. Every step of the way we’ve repeatedly honed down on what we are trying to say with our art. Coming up early next year is our biggest show yet…  All I can say for now is stay tuned!!

About Toqa

Toqa is a sustainable high fashion label focused on Sport Resort. To create their collections, Toqa weaves together a unique aesthetic, a deep appreciation for community, and collaboration as a source of genuine tropical production. They honor the conversational culture that has ultimately shaped their output and aim to be inclusive, minimize environmental impact, and promote alternative methods of production.



Working in conjunction with El Nido Resorts and Ten Knots Development Corporation, Toqa created Moodyisle, which combines community, costuming, and cinema to expand the island identity through sustainable high fashion. Focused on providing an interdisciplinary experience, Toqa hoped to create the perfect runway experience, providing a front row seat for anyone who wanted it. 

Featured cast members include games and marine sportsmen, housekeepers, environmental officers, bangkeros (boatmen), butchers, and landscapers. These collaborators provided local knowledge of El Nido, as each island has its own charm, beauty, and personality. They also helped craft the narrative, characters, and world that you see portrayed in Moodyisle. 

See more of the story behind Moodyisle.

Meet Me at The Meat Market by Elizabeth Kent

Fashion, Reform

These wearable art pieces were created to call attention to the horrors of human trafficking.

Mark’s Garage, Honolulu

World-wide, human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Traffickers exploit people in different ways for labor and commercial sex. Imagine being vulnerable and then letting down your guard – trusting someone, putting your faith and trust in that person – and then being abused and subjected to forced labor or to turn tricks. It’s horrible. Unfortunately, we are not immune to this social disease here in paradise.

“Meet Me at The Meat Market” by Elizabeth Kent is a series that incorporates intimate apparel that has been dyed to look like meat at various stages of decay. We must remain vigilant to protect both those at risk and our society at large.


Located adjacent to Downtown Honolulu is Chinatown. In recent years, the area has been redeveloped into a Culture and Arts District. Throughout Honolulu’s Chinatown, you’ll find iconic establishments and stumble upon hidden gems. From classic lei stands to legendary eateries to herbal medicine shops, this historic and evolving neighborhood is a center for commerce.

However, Chinatown has a very enmeshed history with the sex trade. Now more than ever, Miya is taking a stand against Anti-Asian Violence and we stand with all who have been sexualized or dehumanized as a result of crime & violence.

Find historical placards around Honolulu’s Chinatown

Chinatown had acquired a reputation as a red light district even before World War II, when the military and the police regulated the brothel industry. Immediately after the war, the local authorities outlawed prostitution and closed all the Chinatown brothels. Still segments of the sex industry remained. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Chinatown venues began featuring adult films and nude dancing as mainstream entertainment migrated to Waikiki and the suburbs. The Risque Theater and Bookstore that featured pornographic films and magazines exemplified the shift in the neighborhood when it opened in 1970. The Risque prospered for almost 25 years until a fire gutted the building in 2004. The Marquee still remains.

Read about a former brothel in Wahiawa.

Remnants of Honolulu’s Red Light District still remain today.

If you’re interested in learning more about sex trafficking, order The Status of Women today on Amazon.

Have a Laugh: Brian Jordan Alvarez


With everything going on, comedy has helped lighten the load

Instagram of Brian Jordan Alvarez

In the midst of the pandemic, I found myself laughing more than ever at Instagram & TikTok comedians. Brian Jordan Alvarez is an actor who has developed a few characters I absolutely love!

Establishing Boundaries

Fashion, Shopping, Wellness

Boundaries define who we are and who we are not…

Learning how to set boundaries with yourself and others is a huge part of growing up. Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. Thus, boundaries define who we are and who we are not.

Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who is allowed to touch us or enter our space, and under what circumstances; Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions; Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative, or negative emotions of others; and, Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us the redemption and renewal we need for this life.

Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. This has definitely been something I’ve struggled with personally. However, it is important to consider these questions:

– Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
– What are legitimate boundaries?
– What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
– How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
– Aren’t boundaries selfish?
– Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?

Outfit Details

The Drop Women’s Eloise Long Sleeve

AG Adriano Goldschmied Women’s Sloan Vintage Straight Leg Jean, Years Paradise Found

The Perfect Paiko Day

Fashion, Spirit

Shop Kolea Swim’s Paiko Beach Bikini Set

Honestly, with views & weather like this, it’s hard not to appreciate the perfect days God blesses us with. I feel God telling me that everything is going to be okay.

Being in such a beautiful & serene place, you’re able to really feel the presence of peace! So many people have been telling me that there is anointing in the valley. There is life – there is abundance. There may not be a view like at the top of a mountain, but there is water, nutrients, and lushness. Being in a financially uncertain time, I definitely feel that despite the challenges God has provided over and above anything I could have ever wished for.

As we start another week of Lent, I am recommitting myself to my walk with Jesus. I think that this is something we really don’t talk about enough – how often we need to be renewed! It’s been easy to let things slip day-after-day, and truthfully I haven’t been living as closely to God as I hope to. I really want to spend more time in His word because I feel like I get so much out of it.

After such a powerful experience last weekend, I felt that the enemy was working to attack me and bring me down. Emotionally, mentally. But being able to turn to Jesus has really been the ultimate gamechanger… the only One who is able to calm me down & drape His love over me until I’m whole again!

This year, I feel God moving more than ever before. Last year, with the pandemic, we saw so many people renew their faith and restart their walk with God. However, I believe that the ripple effects of this have yet to be seen as we being to witness more family members, friends, and peers being saved because of the change they witness in us.

No matter what the enemy tries to do to derail us, let us continue to proclaim the glory of GOD in every situation… in imprisonment, during abuse, and while celebrating.

I love you so much and hope you have a great week! By the way, I just launched Kolea Swim‘s first product! Be the first to order this limited edition kini 🙂 Use password: Jesus to enter the site!

Kolea Swim Hawaii