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Oahu-based hula halau Kawaili‘ula wins overall title at 58th Merrie Monarch Festival

  • COURTESY MERRIE MONARCH FESTIVAL
                                The kane of hula halau Kawailiʻula were named overall winners of the Merrie Monarch Festival this year. Members of the halau are pictured performing “Kakuhihewa” during the kahiko portion of the competition on June 25.

    COURTESY MERRIE MONARCH FESTIVAL

    The kane of hula halau Kawailiʻula were named overall winners of the Merrie Monarch Festival this year. Members of the halau are pictured performing “Kakuhihewa” during the kahiko portion of the competition on June 25.

With a total score of 1,180 points, hula halau Kawaili‘ula was named overall winner of the 58th Merrie Monarch Festival.

The competition was held before judges and scored at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium in Hilo in late June with no live audience, then broadcast on network television over the weekend, with winners announced Saturday by co-hosts Manu Boyd and Amy Kalili.

The halau themsleves did not know who had won until the broadcast Saturday night, according to festival director Luana Kawelu.

“I’m extremely happy and so proud of those halau who decided they wanted to become part of the 2021 Merrie Monarch Festival, and put on that show,” said Kawelu. “It was wonderful. They are all troopers.”

Kawelu and her daughter, Kathy, are flying from Hilo to Oahu this weekend to personally deliver the Lokalia Montgomery Perpetual Trophy and other awards to the winning halau.

A total of 15 halau from Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island, along with seven Miss Aloha Hula soloists, competed this year. All agreed to guidelines including multiple COVID-19 tests, a five-day isolation period prior to entering the competition venue, and daily screenings.

Kawaili‘ula of Kailua and Manoa, Oahu, took top place in kane overall, with top scores for kane kahiko and kane auana. With a combined score of 1,180 points, the halau placed top overall.

Kawaili‘ula under the direction of kumu Chinky Mahoe, was also the overall winner of the 50th Merrie Monarch Festival competition in 2013.

Rosemary Kaʻimilei Keamoai-Strickland of Ka La ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe was named the new Miss Aloha Hula on Thursday.

For kahiko, Keamoai-Strickland danced to “Hanohano ‘O Lehua” in honor of Queen Kapi’olani’s founding of what is now Kapiolani Medical Center. For auana, she danced to a mele composed by kumu Keawe Lopes, “Hanohano Hapuuhale,” honoring Florence Kuupualeipoinaole Niau Nicholas, known to most as Aunty Lolena.

Keamoai-Strickland studied Hawaiian language at the University of Hawaii at Manoa under the guidance of Keawe Lopes, also director of the Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language.

Judges of the festival this year were Maelia Loebenstein Carter, William Haunu‘u “Sonny” Ching. Kawaikapu Hewett, Lahela Ka‘aihue, Mae Kamamalu Klein, Noenoelani Zuttermeister Lewis, Etua Lopes, Pi‘ilani Lua, and Nani Lim Yap.

The Merrie Monarch Festival released the following results from the 58th Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition:

OVERALL WINNER

>> Kawailiʻula, kumu Chinky Mahoe, 1,180

>> Halau Kekuaokalaʻauʻalaʻiliahi, kumu ʻIliahi and Haunani Paredes, 1,167

>> Halau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniakea, kumu Kapua Dalire-Moe, 1,163

WAHINE KAHIKO

>> Halau Hiʻiakainamakalehua, kumu Robert Keʻano Kaʻupu IV and Lono Padilla, 580

>> Halau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniakea, kumu Kapua Dalire-Moe, 576

>> Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leinaʻala, kumu Leinaʻala Pavao Jardin, 575

>> Ka La ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe, kumu Tracie and Keawe Lopes, 574

>> Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leinaʻala, kumu Leinaʻala Pavao Jardin, 560

WAHINE AUANA

>> Halau Kekuaokalaʻauʻalaʻiliahi, kumu ʻIliahi and Haunani Paredes, 592

>> Halau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniakea, kumu Kapua Dalire-Moe, 587

>> Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leinaʻala, kumu Leinaʻala Pavao Jardin, 582

>> Ka La ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe, kumu Tracie and Keawe Lopes, 579

>> Halau I Ka Wekiu, Halau I Ka Wekiu, kumu Karl Veto Baker and Michael Casupang, 569

WAHINE OVERALL

>> Halau Kekuaokalaʻauʻalaʻiliahi, kumu ʻIliahi and Haunani Paredes, 1,167

>> Halau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniakea, kumu Kapua Dalire-Moe, 1,163

>> Ka La ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe, kumu Tracie and Keawe Lopes, 1,153

KANE KAHIKO

>> Kawailiʻula, kumu Chinky Mahoe, 576

>> Halau Hiʻiakainamakalehua, kumu Robert Keʻano Kaʻupu IV and Lono Padilla, 562

>> Halau I Ka Wekiu, Halau I Ka Wekiu, kumu Karl Veto Baker and Michael Casupang, 553

>> Kawai‘ulaokala, kumu Keli‘iho‘omalu Puchalski, 552

KANE AUANA

>> Kawailiʻula, kumu Chinky Mahoe, 604

>> Halau Kekuaokalaʻauʻalaʻiliahi, kumu ʻIliahi and Haunani Paredes, 594

>> Halau I Ka Wekiu, Halau I Ka Wekiu, kumu Karl Veto Baker and Michael Casupang, 572

>> Ke Kai O Kahiki, kumu La‘akea Perry, 570

KANE OVERALL

>> Kawailiʻula, kumu Chinky Mahoe, 1,180

>> Halau Kekuaokalaʻauʻalaʻiliahi, kumu ʻIliahi and Haunani Paredes, 1,140

>> Halau Hiʻiakainamakalehua, kumu Robert Keʻano Kaʻupu IV and Lono Padilla, 1,128

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