Kaua'i, Hawaii

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March 3, 2018 — Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon

On March 3, the Kilohana Luau Pavilion and its surroundings were crowded from 9am to 12.30pm by more than 1,000 people, who came to attend Kaua’i’s 14th annual Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon. Among them were representatives from the government, military, judiciary and law enforcement, and the business and educational spheres, as well as church ministries and families. Hailing not just from churches all across the island, but also various other faiths and religions, they gathered in answer to the call for unity in praying for their leadership and their home.

The event, which is organised by Kaua’i Island Ministries, saw participants praying for the government, the judiciary, the military, law enforcement, businesses, churches, families, marriages, and fathers. Keynote speaker Pastor Joe Onosai of Destiny Christian Church Hawai’i spoke about Leaving A Legacy, and urged all attendees to value the unique and special unity that the annual Luncheon has nurtured among Kaua’i’s residents. Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., who was presiding over the event for the final time (he has been termed out of office and is now in the running for the position of lieutenant governor), talked about the importance of faith, hope, and love in his farewell address.

As always, hula was a big part of the event, offered as a gift to and a blessing over the various delegates. Kumu Lei choreographed and directed the hula as she has in previous years, working with dancers from various schools in order to promote and encourage unified support for the Luncheon and all that it represents.

The event wound down and closed on a more casual, festive note over a delightful buffet lunch, during which many of the event’s participants visited and were reunited with friends.

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December 6 – 11th International Symposium on Atomic Level Characterization

In 1996, backed by the 141st Committee on Microbeam Analysis of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), an annual series of high-level international symposia titled “Atomic Level Characterization (ALC)” was launched in Kyoto, Japan. The  series spotlights practical applications of atomic level characterization of new materials and devices, including bio-, organic, and inorganics materials.  It also covers new applications and instrumentation for various analytical techniques of surface and interface analysis, and encourages networking and collaboration among peers in the field.

The event’s 11th edition was held from December 3-8 at the Aqua Kaua’i Beach Resort. It saw about 200 scientists, hailing mainly from Japan and the US Mainland, gathering to discuss fundamental problems associated with the further development of atomic level characterization of materials, and possible solutions to these problems.

Our hālau was honored to present an evening of Hawaiian music and hula during their banquet on December 6; we were accompanied by Kawika “Butter” Defries, Waipuʻilani Flores and Kaui Kitamura, an awesome threesome of musicians and singers.

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All photos in this post/slideshow gallery are credited to Leimakamae Dill.

November 9, 2017 – Na Wahine Alakaʻi o Kauaʻi

Na Wahine Alakaʻi o Kauaʻi, or the Women’s Leadership Award of Kaua’i, is an annual event at which three successful and accomplished women are honored for their contributions to Kaua’i and the local community. It is organized and sponsored by the YWCA of Kaua’i.

This year’s Awards were presented to three very deserving ladies: Sabra Kauka, Jen Chahanovich, and Marynel Valenzuela.

Hālau Ka Lei Kukui Hi’ilani was honored to present the Hawaiian entertainment for the evening’s festivities. We were especially proud of Sabra Kauka who is a respected cultural practitioner known throughout Hawaii for her cultural contributions. Says Kumu Lei: “I work closely with her, love her, and was happy to be a part of this special honor that has been given to her.”

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September 24, 2017 — Hōkūle’a Arrival

On September 24, Hōkūle’a, the famous full-scale replica of a traditional waʻa kaulua or Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe, arrived in Hanalei, Kaua’i, on its visitation circuit around the Hawaiian islands after completing its three-and-a-half-year journey around the world in June.

It was fitting that our hālau was on hand to receive this worthy vessel at our shores with ceremonial protocol, which was a very moving experience. We were very proud and honoured to have had the opportunity to play this role.

Crowds lined the pier to watch Hōkūle’a come in, and many were chanting, blowing pu, and making other celebratory sounds as the boat approached. Once the crew had all gotten on deck, we began our ceremonial oli and hula to welcome them and express our appreciation for all that they had accomplished on their voyage. Their travels on board Hōkūle’a had taken them across about 40,000 nautical miles (74,000 kilometres), during which they called at 18 nations, 150 ports, and eight UNESCO Marine World Heritage sites. It was a truly epic quest on which they had made every effort to spread aloha and encourage people around the world to malama honua.

After all the various presentations of makana, hoʻokupu, oli, mele, hula and speeches had been completed, we celebrated and ate meaʻai prepared by master cooks from moku Haleleʻa. It was a joyous, proud, and wonderful event, and it brought the community together to celebrate an amazing accomplishment.

Our hālau was overjoyed and honoured to have been asked to be a presenter that day.

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Lau hala workshops with Kumu Keoua Nelson

Over two days of workshops, one in June and one in August, our hālau learned how to handle lau hala (screwpine or pandanus leaf) and weave our own pale (protective mat/pad) for use with our ipu heke. The workshops were taught by Kumu Bill Keoua Nelson, of iHala.com, who hails from the Big Island of Hawai’i.

Kumu Keoua comes from a long lineage of weavers, six generations all told, and he takes his craft very seriously. He began the sessions by sharing the moʻo kūʻauhau (scientific genealogy; the species used for weaving in Hawai’i is usually the Pandanus tectorius) of the pū hala (Pandanus tree) and some significant mo’olelo (historical records/tales, traditions, stories) that pertain to it and its uses. He then taught an oli from his ohana about lau hala, and shared the chronology of his family’s traditions with lau hala.

It was only after an understanding of and an appreciation for lau hala had been imparted that Kumu Keoua started us off on practical aspects of the workshop. We learnt how to gather, clean and strip the lau hala, and then he showed us how to weave.

Day 1 of the workshop was hosted by Alika Parker. We enjoyed beautiful views of Mauna Makaleha and Mauna Kalalea while we learnt and worked. Day 2 was hosted by Angela in Kilauea. On one of the workshop days, Kumu Lei wore a pāpale woven from lau hala which had been a gift from her aunty. The hat had been purchased 30 years ago. When Kumu Keoua examined the pāpale, he found evidence of a particular weave which was a trademark of his grandmother, Aunty Lillian Alepoki Grace Nelson; he was certain that she had made it. Kumu Lei was thrilled to have found this connection with Kumu Keoua and his heritage.

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June 17, 2017 — Hōkūle’a Homecoming

The Wahine Maile Papa Hula came together and made a 1,000-foot-long lei lau kī to join with Ron Panzo’s inclusive project and together make a mile-long lei for Hōkūle’a‘s homecoming on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Mahalo ‘Anakē Cyrila and Angela Pycha for spearheading and leading us as we contributed to this Lei of Aloha effort.

Hōkūle’a is a full-scale replica of a traditional waʻa kaulua or Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe. Built in the 1970s, this boat is the culmination of many years of work to resurrect and preserve the traditional sailing and navigation techniques that brought the first settlers to the Hawaiian islands long ago. This epic three-year voyage saw Hōkūle’a traverse about 40,000 nautical miles (74,000 kilometres), 18 nations, 150 ports, and eight UNESCO Marine World Heritage sites on a quest to propagate the massage of Mālama Honua (caring for Island Earth). Click here to read more on her triumphant homecoming.

We join all of Hawai’i in the pride we feel for such an amazing accomplishment by the Hōkūle’a crew. Their commitment, dedication, integrity, and all the sweat, tears, and work they put in over these past four years is a testimony of God’s amazing goodness to us. He provides, He protects, He blesses. Mahalo ke Akua.

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May 1, 2017 — Lei Day

Said to have first been officially celebrated in 1929, Lei Day is a highly-anticipated Hawaiian festival that attracts both local and international attention, especially since the giving of leis has grown to be a popular token worldwide. Displays, sales and craft lessons proliferate throughout the islands, filling the air with myriad fragrances even as gorgeous blooms and foliage draw the eye.

On Kaua’i, smaller Lei Day observations and activities are aplenty, though the main event at the Kaua’i Marriot in Lihue pulls in the largest crowds with its annual Lei Day Competition. Kumu Lei was on the panel of judges at this 37th edition of the contest.

Shown below are some of the beautiful leis that were on display and had been entered in the competition, captured on camera by Alaka’i Namiko.

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