Beloved kumu hula Leina‘ala Kalama Heine died Wednesday morning surrounded by family. She was 75.
Heine, kumu of award-winning halau, Na Pualei O Likolehua, taught several generations of hula dancers and held the honored distinction of performing solo with the Brothers Cazimero. She was sometimes referred to as “the third brother.”
A former judge and participant at the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo, she was also a regular participant at the Prince Lot Hula Festival at Moanalua Gardens and dedicated to nurturing the next generation of hula dancers at the Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula Competition.
“We are heartbroken,” said Robert and Roland Cazimero in a statement issued by Mountain Apple Company. “The depth of our pain and sorrow from her passing is a result of all the joy, laughter and love we shared during her life with us. We will always cherish the journey we shared with her.”
Na Pualei O Likolehua, established by Heine in 1976, is a nonprofit dedicated to training young women in the art of hula and Hawaiian culture.
In 2010, Heine designated the Prince Lot Festival’s theme “Na Punawai O Moanalua” (The Wellspring of Moanalua). She told the Star-Advertiser: “All of life is water. Without water, there is no life.”
Heine was a student the late kumu Maiki Aiu Lake, along with Robert Cazimero, and part of a number of distinguished kumu hula that graduated in the early 1970s. She was one of the founders of the Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Halauaola, a hula conference that originated in Hilo. She even made an appearance in an episode of Hawaii Five-O, “Ola Na Iwi: Haloa” in 2013.
Service information is pending.