Merrie Monarch 2015 Results: Maui Hālau Earns 3 Top Awards

April 12, 2015, 4:31 AM HST · Updated April 14, 1:28 PM
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Photo credit: Brandi Pagala.

Maui’s Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka, under the direction of kumu hula Nāpua Greig. Photo credit: Brandi Pagala.

By Wendy Osher

The women of Maui’s Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka took home top honors at the 52nd Annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, coming in 2nd place in the wāhine kahiko, wāhine ʻauana, and overall wahine divisions.

The hālau, led by kumu hula Nāpua Greig, reigns from Kula, Maui.

In Saturday night’s competition, the women performed an ʻauana selection to “Matsonia,” a mele about a steamship that sailed between Hawaiʻi and America in the 1920s.

The SS Mastonia is said to have “played a pivotal role in supporting the imagery of Hawaiʻi as a romantic paradise to the rest of the world,” according to a festival publication.

On Friday night, the group performed their kahiko to “Manono,” a mele that commemorates Manono, the wife of Kekuaokalani.  The two are credited with defending their religious beliefs in the kapu system to defend their way of life, according to festival literature.

The Maui hālau was among several groups of hula practitioners that danced atop Mauna Kea on Friday amid demonstrations at the site against the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope, and an ongoing effort by cultural groups and concerned citizens seeking protection of the site from development.

During the actual competition, the subject made it to the stage when kumu Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu of Oakland, California mentioned his support for the demonstrators as his men took the stage saying, “We, the Academy of Hawaiian Arts come to offer you this performance.  We support the aloha ʻāina protests opposed to the desecration of Mauna Kea and other natural land and resources.”

In addition to their group performances, Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka’s soloist, ʻĀnela Uʻilani Ruth Fusano Tanigawa finished in the top five during Thursday night’s Miss Aloha Hula competition.

Other Maui groups competing this year included: the men and women of Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi, under the direction of nā kumu hula ʻIliahi & Haunani Paredes; and Moana’s Hula Hālau from Kaunakakai on Molokaʻi.

The overall winner of the 2015 festival with the highest combined score for kāne and wāhine groups was Hālau Nā Kamalei O Līlīlehua under the direction of Kumu Robert Uluwehionāpuaikawēkiuokalani Cazimero out of Honolulu, O‘ahu.

The complete results are as follows:

Overall Kāne and Wāhine: Hālau Nā Kamalei O Līlīlehua, kumu Robert Uluwehionāpuaikawēkiuokalani Cazimero (Honolulu, O‘ahu)
Overall Kāne: Hālau Nā Kamalei O Līlīlehua, kumu Robert Uluwehionāpuaikawēkiuokalani Cazimero (Honolulu, O‘ahu)
Overall Wāhine: Hula Hālau ‘O Kamuela, kumu Kauʻionālani Kamanaʻo and Kunewa Mook (O‘ahu)

Kāne Kahiko: 1st place: Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka Lā, kumu Kaleo Trinidad (Honolulu, O‘ahu); 2nd place: Hālau Nā Kamalei O Līlīlehua, kumu Robert Uluwehionāpuaikawēkiuokalani Cazimero (Honolulu, O‘ahu); 3rd place: Kawailiʻulā, kumu Chinky Māhoe (Kailua and Mānoa, Oʻahu) and Hālau Hula ‘O Kahikilaulani, kumu Nāhōkūokalani Gasumpang (Hilo, Hawai‘i); 4th place: Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu‘uanahulu, kumu William Kahakuleilehua Haunu‘u “Sonny” Ching and Lōpaka Igarta-De Vera (Kapahulu, Oʻahu)

Wāhine Kahiko: 1st place: Hula Hālau ʻO Kamuela, kumu Kauʻionālani Kamanaʻo and Kunewa Mook (Kalihi and Waimānalo, Oʻahu); 2nd place: Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka, kumu Nāpua Greig (Kula, Maui); 3rd place: Ka Lā ‘Ōnohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e, kumu Tracie and Keawe Lopes (Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu); 4th place: Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu‘uanahulu, kumu William Kahakuleilehua Haunu‘u “Sonny” Ching and Lōpaka Igarta-De Vera (Kapahulu, Oʻahu); 5th place: Hālau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniākea, kumu Kapua Dalire-Moe (Kaneʻohe, Oʻahu)

Kāne ʻAuana: 1st place: Hālau Nā Kamalei O Līlīlehua, Kumu Robert Cazimero (Honolulu, O‘ahu); 2nd place: Hālau Hula ‘O Kahikilaulani, kumu Nāhōkūokalani Gasumpang (Hilo, Hawai‘i); 3rd place: Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka Lā, kumu Kaleo Trinidad, (Honolulu, Oʻahu); 4th place: Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu‘uanahulu, kumu William Kahakuleilehua Haunu‘u “Sonny” Ching and Lōpaka Igarta-De Vera (Kapahulu, Oʻahu)

Wāhine ʻAuana: 1st place: Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine, kumu Ka’ilihiwa Vaughan-Darval (Mānoa, Oʻahu); 2nd place: Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka, kumu Nāpua Greig (Kula, Maui); 3rd place: Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu‘uanahulu, kumu William Kahakuleilehua Haunu‘u “Sonny” Ching and Lōpaka Igarta-De Vera (Kapahulu, Oʻahu); 4th place: Hula Hālau O Kamuela, kumu Kau‘ionālani Kamana‘o and Kunewa Mook (Kalihi and Waimānalo, Oʻahu); 5th place: Ka Lā ‘Ōnohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e, kumu Tracie and Keawe Lopes (Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu)

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