Kaua’i’s annual Waimea Town Celebration is probably the longest-running and largest celebration of its kind on the island’s west side. The location, Pa’ula’ula (or Pa’ula’ula o Hipo, Red Enclosure of Hipo), is also known as Fort Elizabeth (the name that was given when the area was temporarily under Russian control).
This year’s various cultural and recreational activities took place from April 15 to 22. Mayor Bernard Carvalho dedicated this 2013/2014 session to honouring Kaua’i’s last reigning king, Kaumuali’i. Kaumuali’i is known as a atrong king, protective of his people — one who was never conquerered by Kamehameha I. He is also remembered also as a wise and loving king who was hospitable to visitors, welcomed change, and enjoyed life while keeping his people’s best interests at heart.
On February 16, four halau led by Kumu hula Leina’ala Jardin, Kumu hula Sabra Kauka, Kumu hula La’amea Almeida, and Kumu hula Leihi’ilani Kirkpatrick presented hula that honoured the name of Kaumuali’i, as well as the people and special places of Kaua’i. Halau Ka Lei Kukui Hi’ilani presented pahu hula, kahiko hula and auana hula in represetation of our past and present.
Aunty Bev Kauanui and her husband accompanied our dancers with their beautiful leo (voices), and Aunty Mali’e accompanied Kumu Lei in the chanting for the kahiko portion of our presentation. A three-part play on the life of Kaumuali’i was also presented by a group led by Aunty Aletha Kaohi, and there were visiting musicians playing for the appreciative crowd as well.