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Wedding proposal makes Merrie Monarch history

By Nina Wu

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 03:53 p.m. HST, Apr 29, 2011


HILO — It was a beautiful aloha performance by Miss Aloha Hula 2010 Mahealani Mika Hirao-Solem.

Dressed in a shimmery, gold dress, she was up on the Merrie Monarch stage dancing her farewell hula to a mix of songs, ending with a rendition of Sting's "Fields of Gold."

Little did she know that when she took her final bow as Miss Aloha Hula, her boyfriend and kumu hula Kau'ionalani Kamana'o, would  walk on stage, drop on one knee and ask her to marry him.

Spectators cheered and shrieked as Kamana'o presented a diamond ring, and watched her emotional reaction. The answer was yes.

It is believed to be the first time in Merrie Monarch's 48-year history that anyone has every proposed on the stage at Edith Kanaka'ole stadium.

"I was super-surprised," said Hirao-Solem afterwards. "I was just focused on doing my dance."

Hirao-Solem and Kamana'o have been together for five years, she said. He is the kumu hula of her halau, Hula Halau 'O Kamuela, along with Kunewa Mook, of Kalihi and Waimanalo.

Hirao-Solem, who friends and family call "Mika," also offered a lei to her first kumu hula, Mapuana de Silva, during her performance last night. 

Last year, she took the Miss Aloha Title the first time competing for it. The year went by quickly.

"I just turned the page from Miss Aloha Hula," she said. "This is the next chapter, I guess."






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