Merrie Monarch 2018 Results: Maui’s Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka Wins Overall Title

April 8, 2018, 1:10 AM HST · Updated April 8, 2:36 AM
Wendy Osher · 25 Comments
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Maui’s Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka under the direction of Kumu Nāpua Greig won the overall title in the 2018 Merrie Monarch hula competition held in Hilo, Hawaiʻi.  The women took the overall festival title, overall wahine title, first place in the wahine ʻauana division, and second place in the wahine kahiko division.  On Thursday night, Shalia Kapuau’ionalani Kikuyo Kamakaokalani of Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka also took the title of Miss Aloha Hula 2018.

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    The 55th annual event had 24 participating hālau compete over the course of three days in traditional and modern hula performances at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium.

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    Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka. PC: Merrie Monarch Festival / Extreme Exposure.

    In a post event interview on the festival broadcast, Kumu Nāpua Greig said she was overwhelmed, grateful and honored to be a part of the group of practitioners who took the stage this year.

    She said the hālau would be taking a break from the festival for a while. “It’s our kuleana to get the next generation ready,” said Greig who expressed a desire to ʻūniki or graduate her alakaʻi (leaders).  “Competition takes a lot out of you; now it’s time to put back in,” she said.

    The winning hālau from Waiohui, Maui took the stage on kahiko night with “Ke Ahi A Lonomakua,” derived from the love story of Pelehonuamea and the pig god Kamapuaʻa. According to a description in the festival program, “This mele is offered by Kamapua’a as a last attempt to appease” Pele’s wrath “by recognizing the impressive characteristics associated with her volcanic eruptions.

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    Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka performs Nā Mele Kaulana No Maui. PC: Merrie Monarch Festival / Extreme Exposure.

    Their modern hula celebrated the island home of Maui with “Nā Mele Kaulana No Maui.” According to the festival program, “This medley traverses our beloved home, framed by Haleakalā and Mauna Kahalawai. To kamaʻāina, these mele and their hula express our overwhelming sense of aloha ʻāina.”  The women graced the stage with pūʻili, split bamboo implements.

    In a festival interview, Kumu Nāpua Greig said, “We never can learn enough about our island.” She said the festival allows the hālau to intellectually pursue more levels of hula education including the huakaʻi (excursion/trip) that the various hālau take to learn more about the places mentioned in the mele.

    All three Maui hālau that competed this year took home awards.

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    The men of Hālau Kekuaokalā‘au‘ala‘iliahi. PC: Merrie Monarch Festival / Extreme Exposure.

    The men of Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi under the direction of Kumu Haunani & ʻIliahi Paredes took the second place Overall Kāne award, second place for their Kāne Kahiko entry, and second place for their Kāne ʻAuana performance.

    The men from Wailuku, Maui, danced to “Nani Wale Nō ʻUlakōheo” for their kahiko. The mele spoke of ʻUlakoheo, “the site of the old Honolulu Iron Works, where steam was used to power large machinery.” The kāne then took to the stage on Saturday night with the mele “Kaʻū Nui,” or the “Great Kaʻū,” which celebrated the beauty of the area and served as a tribute to the birth place of Mary Kawena Pukui.

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    Hālau O Ka Hanu Lehua performs Pōlehoonālani. PC: Merrie Monarch Festival / Extreme Exposure.

    Maui’s Hālau o Ka Hanu Lehua under the direction of Kumu Kamaka Kukona earned a fourth place finish in the Wahine ʻAuana division. In their ʻauana selection, the women from Waikapū, Maui performed to “Pōlehoonālani,” a mele written by Kuana Torres Kahele as a tribute to the island of Niʻihau and the pūpū Pōleho shells. According to the festival booklet: “Kahele wrote this mele for his hānai mother Mama Annie Ane Kanahele, a Niʻihau native who dedicated her life to making these beautiful lei pūpū.”

    Merrie Monarch 2018 Results:

    Overall:

    First: Hālau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka (1200) Hālau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka (Maui)
    Second: Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka Lā (1198) Kaleo Trinidad
    Third: Hālau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina’ala (1188) Kumu Leinā’ala Pavao Jardin (Kaua’i)

    Wahine Overall:

    First: Hālau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka (1200) Kumu Nāpua Greig (Maui)
    Second: Hālau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina’ala (1188) Kumu Leinā’ala Pavao Jardin
    Third: (tie breaker) Hula Hālau ‘O Kamuela (1175) (1633) Kumu Kauʻionālani Kamanaʻo & Kunewa Mook
    Fourth: (tie breaker) Hālau Hi’iakainamakalehua (1175) (1633) Kumu Robert Keʻano Kaʻupu IV & Lono Padilla

    Kāne Overall:

    First: Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka Lā (1198) Kaleo Trinidad
    Second: Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi (1174) Kumu Haunani & ʻIliahi Paredes (Maui)
    Third: Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu’uanahulu (1169) Kumu William Kahakuleilehua Haunuʻu “Sonny” Ching & Lōpaka Igarta-De Vera

    Wahine Kahiko

    First: Hālau Hi’iakainamakalehua (600) Kumu Robert Keʻano Kaʻupu IV & Lono Padilla
    Second: Hālau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka (596) Kumu Nāpua Greig (Maui)
    Third: Hālau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina’ala (592) Kumu Leinā’ala Pavao Jardin
    Fourth: Hālau Mōhala ‘Ilima (583) Kumu Māpuana de Silva
    Fifth: Hula Hālau ‘O Kamuela (582) Kumu Kauʻionālani Kamanaʻo & Kunewa Mook

    Wahine ‘Auana:

    First: Hālau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka  (604) Hālau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka
    Second: Hālau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina’ala (596) Kumu Leinā’ala Pavao Jardin (Kauaʻi)
    Third: Hula Hālau ‘O Kamuela (593) Kumu Kauʻionālani Kamanaʻo & Kunewa Mook
    Fourth: Hālau o Ka Hanu Lehua (589) Kumu Kamaka Kukona
    Fifth: Hālau I Ka Wekiu (586) Kumu Karl Veto Baker & Michael Lanakila Casupang

    Kāne Kahiko:

    First: Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka Lā (594) Kaleo Trinidad
    Second: Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi (590) Kumu Haunani & ʻIliahi Paredes (Maui)
    Third: Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu’uanahulu (586) Kumu William Kahakuleilehua Haunu’u “Sonny” Ching & Lōpaka Igarta-De Vera
    Fourth: Hālau I Ka Wekiu (585) Kumu Karl Veto Baker & Michael Lanakila Casupang

    Kāne ‘Auana:

    First: Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka Lā (604) Kaleo Trinidad
    Second: Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻiliahi (584) Kumu Haunani & ʻIliahi Paredes (Maui)
    Third: Hālau Nā Mamo O Pu’uanahulu (583) Kumu William Kahakuleilehua Haunu’u “Sonny” Ching & Lōpaka Igarta-De Vera
    Fourth: Hālau I Ka Wekiu (582) Kumu Karl Veto Baker & Michael Lanakila Casupang

    Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka. PC: Merrie Monarch Festival / Extreme Exposure.

    Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka performs Nā Mele Kaulana No Maui. PC: Merrie Monarch Festival / Extreme Exposure.

    The men of Hālau Kekuaokalā‘au‘ala‘iliahi. PC: Merrie Monarch Festival / Extreme Exposure.

    The men of Hālau Kekuaokalā‘au‘ala‘iliahi
    perform Kaʻū Nui. PC: Merrie Monarch Festival / Extreme Exposure.

    Hālau O Ka Hanu Lehua performs Pōlehoonālani. PC: Merrie Monarch Festival / Extreme Exposure.

    Hālau Kekuaokalā‘au‘ala‘iliahi dancing their ‘auana selection to Old Plantation. PC: Merrie Monarch Festival / Extreme Exposure.

    Wendy Osher
    Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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