Hastings extended a hand of friendship to welcome students from the University of Hawaii who came to the town for a very special visit.
The students were in England to study archives relating to an education programme instigated by King Kalākaua - the last king and penultimate monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Having been met at Hastings station by Mayor of Hastings Councillor Nigel Sinden, Anne Scott and Marylin Saklatval from Friends of Hastings Cemetery, the students were accompanied to the grave of Dr Matthew Everard Puakahakoililanimanuia Makalua, where they held a special ceremony.
Dr Makalua was a recipient of the grant funding started by King Kalākaua at the end of the 19th century to enable young Hawaiians to study in Great Britain. King Kalākaua met the world famous railway contractor
Thomas Brassey and his wife Annie during the voyage of the ‘Sunbeam’. Later, when on his world tour in 1881 the King visited the couple at their home in Hastings.
Matthew Makalua came to England in 1882 and started at a prep school before training as a doctor. He was the first native Hawaiian to qualify as a doctor.
When qualified, Dr Makalua came to practice in St Leonards at 37 Pevensey Road. He met and married Miss Annie Clementina Dewar on 27 August 1888.
Dr Makalua was a highly respected man, noted for his philanthropy; Matthew and Annie were both concerned with the welfare of the poor.
He originated the scheme to collect tinfoil for the Druid’s Tinfoil Cot in the Royal East Sussex Hospital.
He was medical officer of the L.G.O.C. (London General Omnibus Company) Convalescent home, Caple-ne-Ferne. Dr Makalua never returned to Hawaii. He died in 1929.
Cllr Sinden said: “It was an honour to be part of this very moving ceremony at the graveside of Dr Makalua. The students brought water and sand from Hawaii and covered the grave with the Hawaiian flag (the only American state to have the flag of a foreign country on it, in this case our Union flag) and masses of flowers while singing Hawaiian songs.”
Visit: www.friendsofhastingscemetery website.
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