By Wendy Osher
The title of Miss Aloha Hula 2012 for the 49th Merrie Monarch Festival went to Rebecca Lilinoekekapahauomaunakea Sterling of Ka`ōhao (Lanikai), O`ahu.
Sterling is a student of Kumu Māpuana de Silva and a member of Hālau Mōhala `Ilima.
As Sterling stepped into her new role as Miss Aloha Hula 2012, Maui’s Tori Hulali Canha performed the final dance of her reign as Miss Aloha Hula 2011.
Canha shared the stage with two of her hula sisters: Oralani Koa and Henohea Kāne (Miss Aloha Hula 2009). The three competed in successive years as the Miss Aloha Hula entrants from Hālau Ke`alaokamaile under the direction of kumu hula, Keali`i Reichel.
The awards issued in the first night of competition included the following:
- 1st place, and Miss Aloha Hula 2012 title, with 1,074 pts: Rebecca Lilinoekekapahauomaunakea Sterling – Hālau Mōhala ‘Ilima, Ka’ōhao, O’ahu (Lanikai)
- 2nd place, 1,063 pts: Keahiahi Sharon Long – Ka Pā Hula O Keauanoe O Wa`ahila, Kaimuki, O`ahu
- 3rd place, 1,056 pts: Brandi Pu`uwainani Hart – Ka Lā `ōnohi Mai O Ha`eha`e, Kahauiki, O`ahu
- 4th place , 1054 pts: Sarah Kamaleialohaiapolionāmākua Noyle – Hālau I Ka Wēkiu, Pauoa, O`ahu
- 5th place, 1045 pts.: Tiana-Lynn Nālani Manuel – Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi, Maui
- Hawaiian Language Award, presented by Hulu Lindsey of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to: Keahiahi Sharon Long – Ka Pā Hula O Keauanoe O Wa`ahila, Kaimuki, O`ahu
The event continues with group kahiko hula on Friday night, and group ʻauana hula on Saturday night. For those who could not make it to Hilo this year, the event is being carried live via televised overage on KFVE and live streaming at http://www.k5thehometeam.com/ .