Kaua'i, Hawaii

Author Archive

May 1, 2018 — Lei Day

Lei Day, a popular and highly anticipated annual Hawaiian festival that coincides with the more generic/international May Day holiday, has grown over the years to attract both local and international attention. It is said to have had its inaugural celebration in 1929. The event sees the Hawaiian islands bedecked in myriads of leis featuring all sorts of flora and foliage, as large and small observations and activities proliferate.

Kumu Lei is one of the judges for the Kaua’i Museum’s annual May/Lei Day contests; it is one of the festival’s largest and most crowded events on the island. This 38th edition of the competition was once again hosted by the Kaua’i Marriot in Lihue, and as in previous years the place was awash in fragrant leis. Many of these beautiful creations featured exquisite native Hawaiian plants and flowers, and each one was made with lots of aloha. Congratulations to all the winners!

Shown below are some of the beautiful leis that were on display.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


E Pili Kākou — Preparation for Opening Ceremony

The lead-up to  Pili Kākou, which ran from 15-18 February, took quite a bit of coordination, time, and effort in rehearsals and costume preparation. Here are some snapshots from the process!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


February 15-18, 2018 — E Pili Kākou

These four days were a special time for the hālau, as they had the rare opportunity to attend workshops right on Kaua’i with world-renowned master Lehua Kawaikapuokalani Hewett. It was a great privilege, especially since Kumu Lei herself studied with Lehua Kawaikapuokalani for many years and underwent two ʻūniki with him. For all of our hālau sisters who attended the sessions, in particular those who had not previously had the chance to meet or learn hula from Lehua Kawaikapuokalani, it was a deeply enriching experience.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lehua Kawaikapuokalani’s website is accessible at www.loeahula.com


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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.