It is hard to imagine an activity on the Hawaiian islands that is not related to water in some fashion. Now, water from Native Hawaiian lands is helping to support historic preservation activities in Honolulu. Water bottled with the imprint of The Friends of Iolani Palace is available for purchase.
The mission of the palace Friends is: “to preserve, restore, interpret, share, and celebrate the unique cultural, historical, and spiritual qualities of Iolani Palace and its grounds for the benefit of native Hawaiians, the people of Hawaii, and the world.” (It is written first in Hawaiian, then English). That is a challenging undertaking, as the furnishings of the palace were sold off years ago when it was used as a state office building. Some have been gradually located and re-acquired, but it is an ongoing process.
The top item on the Friends vision statement is to ensure that Iolani Palace “has support and revenue streams from both public and private sources, sufficient to cover operating costs as well as for continuing improvements to structures, programs and activities.” It seems that the sale of bottled water is a step in that direction. According to the bottle label, the water is artesian water from protected Native Hawaiian lands and its sale is a Hawaiian owned and operated minority business enterprise.
It explains further that the water comes from the eastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii, where abundant rains produce a surplus of “nature’s beverage.” According to Hawaiian folklore, the spring was once used by King Kamehameha I for his crops, animals and people. “We proudly share this Alii Puna Wai, or ‘Water of the Royals’. Wishing that every day your dreams come true.”
The label continues with this greeting:
“Hawaii… the island of Dreams!
Dreams of…. memories to come
Dreams of…. memories fulfilled
Each time you taste Hawaii’s water… may your memories be relived
In Hawaii when it rains we call this “Liquid Sunshine”
Our Artesian Water is created by this”
While it might be tempting to get this taste of Hawaii from afar, the palace bottled water is exclusive to the Iolani Palace Gift Shop and to most 4-5 Star Hawaii hotels in their rooms with mini-bars on all four major islands of Hawaii.