John Waihee, first governor of Hawaiian ancestory, inaugurated in 50th state
John D. Waihee III was sworn in Monday as Hawaii's fourth elected governor in a colorful ceremony at historic Iolani Palace that recalled the coronations of the one-time island kingdom's monarchs. In his inaugural speech, the state's first elected chief executive of Hawaiian ancestry vowed to bring the 50th state's ethnically and culturally diverse people together, and urged his audience to look to the future.
An estimated 10,000 people gathered on the palace grounds for a program of more than four hours that included performances of traditional chants and hulas, and of more contemporary Hawaiian tunes.
Mr. Waihee, an attorney, marched in a formal procession from the palace, once the home of kings, to the Royal Bandstand. Army National Guard cannons fired a 19-gun salute as Air National Guard fighter jets made a flyby.
The new governor praised the 13-year administration of his predecessor, fellow Democrat George R. Ariyoshi, and other leaders who took part in Hawaii's first 25 years of statehood.
``These men and women were here at the first wave, here at the birth of our state, nurturing it through its adolescence,'' Waihee said.
``Now,'' he continued, ``it is time to take the gift they have given us and catch the second wave. Let us turn toward the future.'' Waihee became lieutenant governor under Mr. Ariyoshi in 1982.
Also taking the oath of office Monday was the new lieutenant governor, Benjamin J. Cayetano.
Mr. Cayetano holds the highest office ever attained in the state by someone of Filipino ancestry.
Alaska and Hawaii became states in the same year - 1959; Alaska was admitted on Jan. 3 and Hawaii on Aug. 21.
The festivities began with 10 high school bands marching through downtown Honolulu and giving a concert on the palace grounds.
Floral kahilis, the royal standards carried before Hawaii's chiefs and monarchs, lined paths leading to the bandstand, which was ornamented with flowers and leis.
After the ceremony, the inaugural party and many in the audience rose, joined hands and swayed slowly together as they sang the traditional ``Hawaii Aloha.''
About 3,200 people attended an inaugural banquet at a Waikiki Beach hotel.