Maui Arts & Entertainment

Maui’s Kū Mai Ka Hula Competition Celebrates 9 Years

August 28, 2014, 7:56 AM HST
* Updated August 28, 12:08 PM
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Hālau of ka Hanu Lehua. Photo credit: Marsha Aguon/ MACC.

Hālau of ka Hanu Lehua. Photo credit: Marsha Aguon/ MACC.

By Wendy Osher

For the ninth consecutive year, award-winning hālau from across the island and the US mainland will compete in Maui’s Kū Mai Ka Hula competition.

The three day event takes place Thursday through Saturday, September 11-13, 2014, at the Maui Arts& Cultural Center’s Castle Theater.

The event entitled Kū Mai Ka Hula “Hula Appears” kicks off with a film and talk story session at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11 at the McCoy Studio Theater.

Event organizers say the presentation, “Celebrating Maui & Hula Through Rare Movies & Images” includes a selection of rare or never-before seen footage from the archives of the Hula Preservation Society, and the legendary Kumu Hula ‘Iolani Luahine.


A discussion of the video in celebration of Maui’s hula and musical greats will be led by MACC cultural programs director Hōkūlani Holt.


The annual hula event features two days of competition, beginning Friday night, Sept. 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Castle Theater as soloists compete for the titles of Mr. and Ms. Hula Maui.

The competition culminates with hālau or group competition in Wahine and Kāne divisions for both Kahiko (traditional hula) and ʻAuana (modern-day hula) categories.  The group competition runs from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Castle Theater.

Among the hālau scheduled to compete at this years event are: Hālau Kekuakalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi under the direction of nā kumu hula ‘Iliahi & Haunani Paredes of Wailuku Maui; Hālau Hiʻiakaināmakalehua under the direction of nā kumu hula Robert Keʻano Kaʻupu IV & Lono Padilla from Honolulu, Oʻahu; Hālau Hula Kauluokalā under the direction of kumu hula Uluwehi Guerrero of Kahului, Maui; Keʻala ʻO Kamailelauliʻiliʻi under the direction of kumu hula Kamaile Hamada of Federal Way, Washington; and Hālau Hula I Kona Mau Lima under the direction of kumu hula Ualani Makaʻike Calleja of Kahului, Mai.


Judges for this year’s competition include: Kealiʻi Reichel, kumu hula for Hālau Keʻalaokamaile of Wailuku, Maui; Taupōuri Tangarō, kumu for UNUKUPUKUPU of Hilo, Hawaiʻi; and Maka Herrod with Nā Hui O Kamakaokalani of Anahola Kauaʻi.

“Kū Mai Ka Hula is a wonderful opportunity for all who enjoy hula to come together and celebrate. This competition highlights those hālau who have been successful in competitions so that the best come to Maui,” said Holt in a press release statement.

In addition to her role as MACC cultural programs director, Holt is also presenting the event in association with her non-profit organization, Kauahea Inc, which she founded to support Hawaiian arts and culture.

“We will also be featuring solo winners from other competitions during our intermissions. It will be a weekend of hula excellence,” she said.

In addition to the scheduled events, crafters and artisans will also be on hand with displays of their made-in-Hawaiʻi products for sale and viewing during performances.

Tickets for the Thursday evening film presentation are $10.  Tickets for each competition day of Kū Mai Ka Hula are $25 for adults, and are half-price for kids 12 & under. There is also a two-day competition special of $37, half price for kids 12 and under.

Tickets are available by calling the MACC Box Office at (808) 242-SHOW (7469) or online at

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