Hawaii Drill

Aloha and welcome to the cultural performing art and martial sport that is
Hawaiʻi Military-Style Drill.

Hawaiʻi Drill is a service of Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa’s (NMII) Royal Hawaiian Guard (RHG) program where we support competitions, training, and the Aloha State Drill Team.
NMII is a 501(c)(3) charity with the purpose to promote and preserve Aloha in the world. The RHG program is a place for youth to belong where they can learn values, be surrounded by positive peers and mentors, explore the Native Hawaiian culture, and represent Hawaiʻi in a meaningful way that uplifts the community.
The Aloha State Drill Team is an independent High School drill team comprised of members from across Hawaiʻi. Members are selected based on character, leadership, commitment, and skill.


The Hawaiian Kingdom era

Hawaiʻi’s unique style of military drill traces its lineage to the Kanaka ʻŌiwi-Native Hawaiian martial art of lua, spiritual art of hula, and traditions of drill and ceremony of the Royal Guards established by Hawaiian Monarchs, King Kamehameha I in 1810 and King David Kalākaua in 1874. The Royal Guards were disbanded in 1893 after a coup that ended the Hawaiian Kingdom government where many traditions were lost to time.

The Guard returns

The emergence of the Royal Guard of the Hawaiʻi Air National Guard revived traditions last seen 69 years prior. The Guard was established in 1962 under then State Adjutant Col. Judd with monetary support from the State Legislature and serves as a unique honor guard at the request of the Governor of Hawaiʻi. The uniforms, organization, and drill and ceremony were developed based on historical references. Members of the unit are airmen of the Hawaiʻi Air National Guard and must be of Kanaka ʻŌiwi descent.

The performing art takes shape with JROTC programs.

The establishment of American governance in Hawaiʻi brought about an abundance of Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs to Hawaiʻi High Schools. The mission of JROTC is to motivate young people to become better citizens. These vital programs help to shape the most formative years of young people’s lives with positive values, structure, great role models, and life-long friendships.

With 26 JROTC programs throughout the State, 24 public and 2 private, Hawaii has one of the highest concentrations of JROTC participants in the Nation per capita. The first JROTC unit formed in Hawaii was in 1916 with Kamehameha Schools, Kapālama Campus, followed by Punahou School in 1918, then the first public school, McKinley High School in 1921. Today there are over 3,000 programs across the United States.

JROTC programs utilize military drill to instill discipline, attention to detail, leadership, and confidence. Military drill is instructed to students or “cadets” based upon the branch of service affiliated to a JROTC program. Program affiliations include the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.

All JROTC programs offer the extra-curricular Drill Team activity for cadets who wish to progress their skills. From 1916, Drill Teams evolved in Hawaiʻi with fierce competitions as programs battled to be the best in drill excellence. Instructors and cadets intertwined influences found in Hawaiʻi’s culture with military drill setting the stage for the distinct performing art of Hawaiʻi Military-Style Drill to take form.

Hawaiʻi Military-Style Drill is born with the emergence of professional Drill Teams

The Kings Guard Drill Team was formed in 1972 at the Kings Village Shopping Center in Waikiki. Over its 42 years of existence, the Kings Guard have had an indelible impact in the drill world achieving world titles and participating in prestigious events such as the 1989, US Presidential Inaugural parade in Washington, D.C.. The Kings Guard retired as a unit on May 16th 2014.

Formed after the King’s Guard was the Hilton Hawaiian Village Guard. The Hilton Hawaiian Village Guard was formed in 1989 by Commander Adam Marumoto. The Guard won the 1989 World Drill Championships in Daytona, Florida. In 2009 the Hilton Guard lost their entertainment contract with the Hilton Hawaiian Village and reorganized to their present structure as the Hawaii Royal Honor Guard.
The H.R.H.G. continues to perform for private and public events, perpetuating Hawaii’s unique style of rifle drill and traditions.

A Guard to Mālama Hawaiʻi - Serve Hawaiʻi's people

The Royal Hawaiian Guard (RHG) was founded by Paulo Faleafine Jr. in 2008 as a commercial entity. Mr. Faleafine’s goal was to provide the Baldwin High School JROTC Drill Team with performance opportunities much like he experienced as a member of the Kings Guard Waikiki from 1998-2003.

On August 1, 2009 the RHG reorganized from a commercial entity into a domestic non-profit organization fiscally sponsored by the West Maui Improvement Foundation. Transition to a non-profit occurred as the goal for the RHG changed focus from solely drill to cultural preservation and youth development with the intent that the organization continue to perpetuity.

Significantly, the shift was brought about as the RHG began its service as Honor Guards of the Waineʻe Royal Tombs of Waiola Church at Lāhaina, Maui with the first posting of the Guard on August 2nd, 2009.

In 2017 Nā Mea ʻIke ʻIa (NMII) was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The RHG was dissolved as an entity and became a program of NMII to better meet the goals of cultural preservation and youth development.

The RHG program is a structured Native Hawaiian cultural focused program that immerses participants in Hawaii Military-Style Drill, a blending of ancient warrior practices with a modern military protocol. The program is built on cultural values with the goal to have its members live Aloha and perpetuate it in the world.

The Guard is a safe and positive group for all young people to BELONG. It is a space for them to engage in activities that spark their interests and explore leadership, service, culture, and community. The mission of the Royal Hawaiian Guard is to impact the youth to achieve excellence in life.

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