Rosemary Kaʻimilei Keamoai-Strickland of Ka La ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe took the title of Miss Aloha Hula at the 58th annual Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo.
It was the second Miss Aloha Hula win for the Kaneohe halau under the direction of kumu Tracie and Keawe Lopes, which also took the title in 2014.
Makaʻala Kahikinaokalalani Victoria Perry of Ke Kai O Kahiki of Waianae won the Hawaiian Language Award. She is the daughter of kumu La‘akea Perry, and was the halau’s first Miss Aloha Hula soloist.
A total of seven dancers vied for the Miss Aloha Hula title Thursday night at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium in Hilo. It was a close competition, with just one point separating the top two winners.
Due to the pandemic, there were strict protocols in place this year, including guidelines that required multiple COVID testings, a 5-day isolation period prior to entering the competition venue, and daily screenings.
There was no live audience nor live music, and the competition took place before judges last week, but was broadcast Thursday.
The festival and competition were canceled due to the pandemic in 2020.
Miss Aloha Hula 2019 was Taizha Keakealani Hughes-Kaluhiokalani of Halau Hiiakainamakalehua.
The broadcast of the Merrie Monarch Festival continues with the group kahiko (ancient-style) hula competition tonight and the group auana (modern-style) hula competition Saturday night, followed by the announcement of winners and awards.
Miss Aloha Hula results:
>> Rosemary Kaʻimilei Keamoai-Strickland, Ka La ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe, Kumu Tracie and Keawe Lopes, 1,114 points
>> Ashley Kilioulaninuiamamaoho‘opi‘iwahinekapualokeokalaniakea Lai, Halau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniakea, Kumu Kapua Dalire-Moe, 1,113 points
>> Makaʻala Kahikinaokalalani Victoria Perry, Ke Kai O Kahiki, Kumu La‘akea Perry, 1,100 points