Maui Halau Makes Merrie Monarch Debut
By Wendy Osher
The competition portion of the 49th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival begins tonight as a dozen solo dancers grace the stage of the Edith Kanakaʻole Tennis Stadium competing for the 2012 title of Miss Aloha Hula.
As a new Miss Aloha Hula is crowned tonight, Maui’s Tori Hulali Canha of Hālau Keʻalaokamaile will complete her reign after winning the 2011 title last year.
At this year’s event, Tiana-Lynn Nālani Manuel is Maui’s only Miss Aloha Hula entry. She is a member of Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi, under the direction of Nā Kumu hula ʻIliahi and Haunani Paredes of Wailuku, Maui.
Manuel is scheduled to dance fourth in the kahiko lineup, and return again after intermission as fourth in the lineup for the ʻauana portion of the event.
Her kahiko, or ancient hula performance, is to “Aia I Līhau Kō Lei Nani.” According to the program description, it is one of several lei chants in a collection entitled “He Lei No Ka Moʻi Wahine Kapiʻolani,” that was composed in honor of Queen Kapiʻolani, the wife of King David Kalākaua.
The mele, or song speaks of a mountain region on the island of Maui called Līhau that overlooks Lāhainā and is famous for its lehua blossoms.
For the ʻauana portion of the Miss Aloha Hula event, Manuel will perform a hula to “Ka Makani Kāʻili Aloha, a love song that speaks of the famous Kāʻili Aloha, or love capturing, wind of Kīpahulu in East Maui.
The Kāne, or men, from Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi will compete during the group portion on the event on Friday and Saturday night.
They are scheduled to appear at lucky number 13 in the Friday Kahiko line-up, and again on Saturday during the ʻAuana program.
Their kahiko, or ancient hula performance, will be to “Mele No Kalākaua,” a mele inoa that honors Kind David Kālakalu, also known as the Merrie Monarch.
Their ʻauana, or modern hula performance, will be to “E HoʻiKe Aloha I Maunawili,” a song composed by their kumu, ʻIliahi as a gift to his tūtū wahine. The event program states that the song reflects upon fond childhood memories that were shared about growing up in verdant Maunawili.
“We’re excited. We send our love back to Maui, because we know we’re here because there’s so many people that are on Maui who helped us get here,” said ʻIliahi Paredes in a morning interview on KPOA 93.5 FM.
“We wanted to malama all of the Maui people for all of their positive thoughts, and the prayers from everyone who knows us and supports us. We just really appreciate them for that,” said Haunani Paredes in the radio interview with Morning Goddess ʻAlakai Paleka.
The event concludes with a presentation of awards following the ʻauana competition 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/.