This year, the 5th Ka ʻAha Hula ʻO Hālauaola Hula Conference ran from 14 to 23 June and saw a total of around 1,200 participants from across the Hawaiian islands and around the world. As in previous iterations of Ka ʻAha Hula ʻO Hālauaola, they learnt from and studied with various hula masters and experts in high-level workshops, presentations, and related activities, which include huaka’i (excursions/visits) to sacred sites and historically or culturally important places in every district on Hawai’i.
Alaka’i Kahanoa Floresca of our hālau’s San Diego branch worked very hard in representing us in both the opening and closing ceremonies; Alaka’i Kapuananiokekukui Namiko (Puanani) of our Singapore branch was also around for a few days as part of our delegation.
Here are some snapshots of the event, as well as of various sites of interest and significance in Hilo.
The past few months have been a whirlwind of activity. Here are snapshots from some of the house blessings, private lei-making workshops, private hula lessons, weddings, and shows that Kumu Lei and the hālau have been involved in in this period.
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.
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!
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.
Lehua Kawaikapuokalani’s website is accessible at www.loeahula.com
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.