Beloved kumu hula Aloha Dalire died early this morning, surrounded by family at her home in Kaneohe. She was 64.
Dalire was born June 22, 1950 in Honolulu and raised in Kaneohe. She was the first to hold the Miss Aloha Hula title as Aloha Wong in 1971, the same year the Merrie Monarch Festival launched its hula competition.
She began her hula studies at 3 years old under the direction of the late hula master George Na’ope and would go on to become a kumu hula herself. Her three daughters, Kapualokeokalaniakea, Kau’imaiokalaniakea and Keolalaulani, also won the Miss Aloha Hula title in 1991, 1992 and 1999.
Dalire was dedicated to the Merrie Monarch Festival, bringing her halau, Keolalaulani Halau ‘Olapa O Laka, to the competition for more than 40 years, often taking top place in the women’s kahiko and auana categories.
“On behalf of Kapua, Kaui and Keola Dalire, we are saddened to report that our mother, Aloha Dalire, has passed away early this morning in the comfort of her home in Kaneohe, Oahu,” said the daughters in a statement. “On behalf of her entire ohana, we kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time. We appreciate your understanding.”
Dalire is survived by her three daughters and 16 grandchildren. Service information is pending.