Maui Hālau Compete in Hula Competition at Merrie Monarch
By Wendy Osher
The week-long 51st Annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo on Hawaiʻi Island continues with kahiko or ancient style hula performances tonight. The competition portion of the festival got underway on Thursday night with the crowning of the new Miss Aloha Hula for 2014.
Maui’s Manalani Ends Year Long Reign:
Oahu’s Ke’alohilani Tara Eliga Serrao of Ka Lā ʻŌnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe was crowned Miss Aloha Hula 2014 at the 51st Merrie Monarch Hula Festival last night in Hilo, Hawaiʻi.
Serrao is a student of nā kumu hula Tracie and Keawe Lopes, and earns the title for her combined scores from a kahiko performance in honor of Princess Ruth Ke’elikolani, and an ‘auana hula that honored Queen Lili’uokalani.
Last year’s winner, Manalani English of Maui stepped down from her year-long reign with a special exit performance last night.
A total of 13 women competed as soloists this year including two Maui contenders: Hulali Kaʻimiʻāina Ciera De Lima of Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka, under the direction of kumu hula Nāpua Greig; and Kamalani Kaleimomi Kahalepoli Kawaʻa of Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi, under the direction of nā kumu hula ʻIliahi and Haunani Paredes.
Mokuʻula to be Highlighted by Men of Maui:
Tonight’s event includes a Kāne (men’s) hula from Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi, under the direction of nā kumu hula ʻIliahi and Haunani Paredes.
The men will perform a hula entitled, “E Hoʻi Ka Nani I Mokuʻula” is a sorrowful chant that speaks of a desire to see the beauty return to Mokuʻula on Maui, and also speaks of the sacred places in Luaʻehu at Lahaina, according to material published by the Merrie Monarch Festival.
Mokuʻula is situated in the area of the current Malu Ulu O Lele Park. According to the non-profit Friends of Mokuʻula organization, Mokuʻula served for nearly a century as a political and spiritual center of Hawai’i, and was an ancient home of Maui’s chiefly lines.
The wetland is cited in Hawaiian traditions as the home of Kihawahine, a deity in royal lineage, and the island was noted as the preferred residence of high ranking aliʻi through the mid-1800s, according to information contained in an Environmental Assessment seeking its restoration.
The pond was filled in 1914 due to hygienic and development purposes when it became stagnant, according to the EA document.
Several years later, an executive order established the site as the current Maluʻulu o Lele Park, with the pond and island now located approximately 2 to 3 feet below the ground surface, according to state documentation.
Maui Women to Relate a Historic Royal Visit to Waiʻau:
The women of Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka, under the direction of kumu hula Nāpua Greig will perform their kahiko to a selection entitled, “E Hoʻi Ka Nani I Mānā.”
According to information published by the Merrie Monarch Festival, “William Seymour Lindsey, great grandfather of kumu hula Nāpua Greig, was an escort who accompanied Queen Emma to Lake Waiʻau,” on Hawaiʻi Island.
The selection tells of the historic visit in which Queen Emma was carried on the back of a man who swam her across the lake, the festival publication said.
The Maui groups are scheduled to perform their kahiko selections after intermission as 19th and 20th in the lineup.
The competition will continue with group ‘auana, or modern style hula on Saturday, followed by an awards ceremony.
The competition begins at 5:45 tonight at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium, and will be broadcast live at 6 p.m. on KFVE, with live streaming at the KFVE website.