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Wednesday, May 29, 2024 74° Today's Paper


Giving life to hula

Nina Wu
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The students of eight new teachers of Na Pualei o Likolehua, the halau of kumu hula Leina'ala Heine, will perform at the Prince Lot Hula Festival at Moanalua Gardens. Heine is shown by the garden's taro pond.
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Moanalua Gardens, a spectacular 23-acre park once home to Hawaii's royalty, is the site of the Prince Lot Hula Festival.

THE THEME of this year’s Prince Lot Hula Festival is Na Punawai O Moanalua—the wellspring of Moanalua.

"Water is a source of life," said kumu hula Leina’ala Kalama Heine, who designated the theme.

"The water feeds people, the water feeds communities, and as a resource, water feeds education and being able to feed oneself sustainably. All of life is water. Without water, there is no life."

The 33rd annual Prince Lot Hula Festival, the state’s largest noncompetitive hula event, will take place tomorrow at Moanalua Gardens.

For Heine, this year’s Prince Lot festival is especially symbolic because her halau, Na Pualei o Likolehua, will showcase eight new teachers whose students will perform for the first time. Two keiki groups—ages 3 to 6, and ages 7 to 9—will take the stage at the festival. They represent a new flow of water, or new generation of hula dancers.


Where: Moanalua Gardens

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow

Cost: Free, but a donation is requested.

Info: 839-5334 or www.moanaluagardensfoundation.org.

Note: Beach chairs and mats welcome. No commercial photography.


The adult ladies of her halau also will dance two numbers in honor of Queen Emma, who came from the King Kalakaua lineage, as did Prince Lot. One mele, "A Kilohana," tells of the queen’s journey to Kauai.

Heine says the festival, being noncompetitive, is unique in that it allows for give-and-take between hula dancers and the audience in a more casual setting.

"You have a wonderful interaction with the audience," she said. "It’s about sharing and educating, where you’re able to explain the text that you’ll be performing."

A DOZEN halau will perform both hula kahiko and ‘auana on one of the few remaining pa hula (hula mounds) in Hawaii. Nearly a dozen vendors also will offer Hawaiian arts and crafts, from feather lei making to poi pounding and surfboard shaping.

"Some of Hawaii’s most celebrated hula halau will participate in this year’s festival," said Alika Jamile, Moanalua Gardens Foundation executive director and president. "In 2010, we have added more cultural activities to enhance the experience for visitors and local residents alike."

Local food and refreshments will be available for purchase, along with limited-edition T-shirts and souvenir buttons.

The valley of Moanalua is home to four water sources, according to kumu hula Heine, which, when flowing, signify health.

A water spring is also symbolic of the resurgence of new life, or a new start.

"When you have water energizing the loi and the kalo, you have life," she said, referring to taro patches.

The festival—named in memory of Prince Lot, who later reigned as King Kamehameha V and is credited with reviving hula in the Moanalua district—was founded by the Moanalua Gardens Foundation in 1978 and now attracts up to 10,000 residents and visitors.


A Kilohana o ka lani la e
Nana ia Hanalei la e

O ke one a’o Mahamoku la e
Me ka wai a’o Lumaha’i la e

Ana lae hala o Naue la e
A la’i ‘ia e ka noe la e

Maunahina kai i luna la e
Ke ala kuhikuhi lima la e

U’i a’e nei ‘Emalani la e
A huli ho’i nei kakou la e

Ha’ina mai ka puana la e
‘Emalani no he inoa la e

Kahea: He inoa no Ke Kuini ‘Emalani



From the heights of Kilohana
I gaze upon the beauty of Hanalei

One can see the sands of Mahamoku
And the waters of Lumaha’i

The hala of Naue juts out into the sea
Covered with the mist of sea spray

Maunahina is above
The road way winds

Beautiful indeed is ‘Emalani
Let us all turn and go back

The story has been told
For ‘Emalani is her name.

Words and translation courtesy of kumu hula Leina’ala Heine


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