LAHAINA >> Hula O Na Keiki, the only hula competition for children where participants learn, interpret and perform mele about Maui Nui, returned to the Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel to celebrate its 30th anniversary after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
The three-night competition for keiki ages 5-17, held Nov. 10-12, featured participants representing seven halau hula from Maui, Oahu, Hawaii island and Kauai, and music by Grammy Award-winning Maui musicians Amy Hanaiali‘i and Kalani Pe‘a.
According to organizers, the long-running event aims “to educate children in the ways of their Hawaiian ancestors so that the culture can be carried forward.” To further celebrate its milestone 30th year and “promote and nurture Hawaiian cultural values,” the weekend festivities expanded to include a Hawaiian Festival of Arts, Fashion and Food.
The 2022 Master and Miss Hula O Na Keiki overall winners were Noah Kazuo Pi‘imaiwa‘a Andrade and Lennon Aiko Ku‘ualoha Nakada, respectively, with both dancers representing Halau Hi‘iakainamakalehua, led by Kumu Robert Ke‘ano Ka‘upu IV and Lono Padilla.
The Oahu halau also swept the group kane and wahine auana (contemporary) and kahiko (traditional) categories and the group kane and wahine Oli and ‘Olelo Hawai‘i Awards.
Dancers were judged on such elements as Hawaiian language, chanting, stylistic interpretation, costumes and adornments, as well as individual interviews with a panel of judges.
Next year’s Hula O Na Keiki is scheduled for Nov. 9-11. For complete 2022 Hula O Na Keiki results, visit kbhmaui.com/hulaonakeiki.