Maui News

Lei Day in Maui Nei: Longest Lei Exchange is a Success

May 2, 2017, 9:38 AM HST
* Updated May 2, 12:59 PM
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Hundreds of guests gathered earlier today for a special celebration of May Day at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa. Held outdoors at the resort’s Aloha Pavilion with scenic gardens and waterfalls, the highlight of the morning was the resort’s successful attempt to set a world record for the Longest Lei Exchange.

This unique experience included children and adults forming a human line on Kāʻanapali Beach fronting Westin Maui where they greeted the person next to them with a fresh orchid flower lei.

“As May Day is also known as Lei Day, the significance of exchanging a lei was most profound as it invokes the Hawaiian spirit of Aloha and the rich host culture,” said resort general manger Tony Bruno. “From our guests to associates, families and friends, island visitors staying at neighboring resorts in Kāʻanapali, kamaʻāina residents and general public – the response we received was truly extraordinary. While our initial count was 491 persons prior to the start of the event, beachgoers and interested passerby joined us on the beach whereby we easily surpassed our target of 500 persons,” added Tony.

The resort’s cultural celebrations were made merrier with a special performance by 75 students and teachers from Kula Kaiapuni O Maui Ma Nāhiʻenaʻena, a Hawaiian language immersion school located within Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena public school in Lahaina, Maui. Considered a school within a school, Kula Kaiapuni O Maui Ma Nāhiʻenaʻena utilizes Hawaiʻi’s indigenous language, culture, perspectives, and practices to implement its curriculum.

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“Recognizing the importance of preserving Hawaiian culture, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa committed $2,500 to benefit the cause of non-profit organization Nā Leo Kalele that supports this Hawaiian immersion program,” said Clarita Villa, resort human resources manager. “At Westin Maui, we believe in playing an integral role within the community we live in. As such we formed Hoʻolokahi Council made of resort associates and managers where we support various causes including Charity Walk, Relay for Life and Nā Leo Kalele among others,” said Clarita who is also the chairperson of Hoʻolokahi Council.

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Throughout the morning, guests were treated to festivities such as the Aloha Craft Fair featuring local vendors and their handcrafted wares, Lei Making Class and a Flower Lei Balloon Arch for photos in Maui’s sunny paradise.

For those who were unable to attend the colorful festivities, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa posted nine specialty leis designed for the resort by local lei artist Pamakane Pico where they could share their favorite lei digitally through social media channels.  Each lei highlights the diversity of Maui’s scenic settings and experiences featuring locations such as Haleakalā, Kula, Hāna, Pāʻia, ʻĪao Valley, Makawao, ʻUlupalakua, Honolua Bay and Kāʻanapali.

Seven hundred leis were purchased to share with all guests at Westin Maui’s May Day Celebrations. PC: Jake Marote

Seven hundred leis were purchased to share with all guests at Westin Maui’s May Day Celebrations. PC: Jake Marote

Seven hundred leis were purchased to share with all guests at Westin Maui’s May Day Celebrations. PC: Jake Marote

Seven hundred leis were purchased to share with all guests at Westin Maui’s May Day Celebrations. PC: Jake Marote

Lei Day at the Westin. PC: Jake Marote

First Lei – Hawaiian Officiant Keli’i Arruda presented the first lei after performing an Oli and blessing ceremony.

Leis For All – Seven hundred leis were purchased to share with all guests at Westin Maui’s May Day Celebrations.

2017 May Day – Students from Kula Kaiapuni O Maui Ma Nāhiʻenaʻena joined resort guests and general public for the Longest Lei Exchange fronting The Westin Maui Resort & Spa on Kāʻanapali Beach.

PC: Eric Frankum

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