Kaneohe halau is overall winner of the Merrie Monarch Festival
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Kaneohe halau is overall winner of the Merrie Monarch Festival

  • COURTESY MERRIE MONARCH FESTIVAL

    With 1,168 points, Ka La ‘Onohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e had the highest combined score of all 23 halau that competed for the overall winner title of the 54th Merrie Monarch Festival.

HILO >> Ka La ‘Onohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e under the direction of kumu Tracie and Keawe Lopes took the overall winner title of the 54th Merrie Monarch Festival on Saturday night.

With 1,168 points, the Kaneohe halau had the highest combined score of all 23 halau that competed on the hallowed stage of the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium in group competitions on Friday and Saturday.

The bar was set high this year, with creative choreography, athleticism and precision exhibited by the dancers. All halau this year from the Hawaiian isles of Kauai, Maui, Oahu and Hawaii island, and they brought strong performances to the stage, from beginning to end.

Ka La ‘Onohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e won judges over with a dance honoring Queen Kapiolani with a rain mele, “Wai‘oli,” on kahiko night, followed by a graceful performance of “Mauna Lahilahi,” a composition honoring the late Jack Waterhouse and his beloved beach cottage, for their auana number.

The halau also took women’s overall, with with a second place finish in wahine kahiko and first place in wahine auana. Kawaili‘ula of Kailua, under the direction of kumu Chinky Mahoe took kane overall with 580 points and placed top in kane kahiko. Halau I Ka Wekiu under the direction of kumu Karl Veto Baker and kumu Michael Lanakila Casupang followed close behind, with 1,133 points, and took the top place in kane auana.

On Thursday night, 10 solo dancers vied for the title of Miss Aloha Hula, which went to Kelina Kyoko Ke‘ano‘ilehua Tiffany Eldredge of Halau Hi‘iakainamakalehua after a historical, double tiebreaker.

On Friday and Saturday nights, a total of 29 groups — 20 wahine and nine kane — brought the best of hula to the world stage in the kahiko (ancient-style) portion and auana (modern-style) portion of the festival.

The panel of judges this year were Ainsley Halemanu, Rachel Lahela Ka’aihue, Pualani Kanaka’ole Kanahele, Etua Lopes, Pi’ilani Lua, Keali’i Reichel, Kalena Silva.

Overall Winner

>> Ka La ‘Onohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e, kumu Tracie & Keawe Lopes, 1,168

Wahine Kahiko

>> Halau Hi‘iakainamakalehua, kumu Robert Ke‘ano Ka‘upu IV and Lono Padilla, 590

>> Ka La ‘Onohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e, kumu Tracie & Keawe Lopes, 589

>> Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina‘ala, kumu Leina‘ala Pavao Jardin, 584

>> Halau Mohala ‘Ilima, kumu Mapuana de Silva, 576

>> Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka, kumu Napua Greig, 575

Wahine Auana

>> Ka La ‘Onohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e, kumu Tracie & Keawe Lopes, 579

>> Halau Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine, kumu Ka‘ilihiwa Vaughan-Darval, 578

>> Halau Hi‘iakainamakalehua, kumu Robert Ke‘ano Ka‘upu IV and Lono Padilla, 573

>> Hula Halau ‘O Kamuela, kumu Kunewa Mook & Kau‘ionālani Kamana‘o, 571

>> Halau Hula O Kauhionamauna, kumu Denise Kauhionamauna Kia Ramento, 566

Wahine Overall

>> Ka La ‘Onohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e, kumu Tracie & Keawe Lopes, 1,168

>> Halau Hi‘iakainamakalehua, kumu Robert Ke‘ano Ka‘upu IV and Lono Padilla, 1,163

>> Hula Halau ‘O Kamuela, kumu Kunewa Mook & Kau‘ionālani Kamana‘o, 1,143

Kane Kahiko

>> Kawaili‘ula, kumu Chinky Mahoe, 580

>> Halau Hula ʻO Kahikilaulani, kumu Nahokuokalani Gaspang, 566

>> Ke Kai O Kahiki, kumu Laʻakea Perry, 562

>> Kawai‘ulaokala, kumu Keli‘iho‘omalu Puchalski, 558

Kane Auana

>> Halau I Ka Wekiu, kumu Karl Veto Baker and Michael Lanakila Casupang, 584

>> Halau Kekuaokala‘au‘ala‘iliahi, kumu Haunani and ‘Iliahi Paredes, 581

>> Kawaili‘ula, kumu Chinky Mahoe, 568

>> Ke Kai O Kahiki, kumu Laʻakea Perry, 567

Kane Overall

>> Kawaili‘ula, kumu Chinky Mahoe, 1,148

>> Halau I Ka Wekiu, kumu Karl Veto Baker and Michael Lanakila Casupang, 1,133

>> Halau Kekuaokala‘au‘ala‘iliahi, kumu Haunani and ‘Iliahi Paredes, 1,132


Click here for more of our coverage on the Merrie Monarch Festival.


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