Third Runner-up in Kāne Kahiko, Hālau Kawai‘ulaokalā perform He Mele No Kamapua‘a at the 54th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival. Directed by Kumu Hula, Keli‘iho‘omalu Puchalski. - Photo: Alice Silbanuz
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55th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival

April 1-7
Merrie Monarch week on Hawai‘i Island is filled with hula, artists and crafters, entertainment and cultural activities. The premier competitions – Miss Aloha Hula, kahiko and ‘auana – will be broadcast on KFVE.


April 1, 9 a.m.
Free performances by local hālau.

Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair*

April 4-6, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; April 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Free arts market featuring local artists, crafters and entertainment.

Hō‘ike Performances**

April 4, 6 p.m.
No tickets are required to this exhibition night featuring hula and folk dance from around the Pacific.

Miss Aloha Hula**

April 5, 6 p.m.
Individual contestants for Miss Aloha Hula perform hula kahiko, hula ‘auana and oli. One contestant will also win the Office of Hawaiian Affairs ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i Award for Hawaiian language skills.

Group Hula Kahiko**

April 6, 6 p.m.
Hālau hula perform ancient style dances.

Merrie Monarch Royal Parade

April 7, 10:30 a.m.
One of the most entertaining events for the family, the parade through downtown Hilo begins and ends at Pauahi Street.

Group Hula ‘Auana and Awards**

April 7, 6 p.m.
Hālau hula perform modern style dances, followed by an awards presentation for all group winners.

* – Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium
** – Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium
Free mid-day entertainment Monday through Friday: noon at the Grand Naniloa Hotel, and at 1 p.m. at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.

Haku Lei Workshops

April 5, (two sessions) 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
During the Merrie Monarch festivities, OHA hosts haku lei making workshops, giving participants the option of creating a traditional or contemporary haku lei. Seats are limited so RSVP at (808) 933-3106. Mokupāpapa Discovery Center, Hilo.

Gubernatorial Candidate Forum

April 6, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement has invited candidates running for governor to speak directly to Native Hawaiians and answer a set of questions developed by CNHA members and partner organizations. U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D), Gov. David Ige (D), State Rep. Andria Tupola (R), former State Senator Clayton Hee (D) and former State Senator John Carroll (R) are confirmed. Space is limited, so RSVP at<"> Honolulu Interisland Airport Conference Room.

Lāhui Hawai‘i Research Center Student Conference

April 6-7
The second annual conference aims to bring together haumāna kanaka ‘ōiwi, kumu and the community to highlight and discuss some of the exciting and relevant research projects that kanaka ‘ōiwi have taken up in service of their lāhui. Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies,

Art at the Capitol

April 6, 4:30 to 7 p.m.
Legislators will be opening their office doors to showcase the works by local artists that adorn their offices, and will share their own artwork in an exhibit of self-portraits to be judged by a panel of artists and the public, who will determine the People’s Choice winner. Visitors are invited to participate in a special exhibit created before and during the event. The Hawai‘i Youth Symphony will perform throughout. Free. Hawai‘i State Capitol,

“Ola Pono Ola Loa”

April 7, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Po‘okela Ikaika Dombrigues presents workshops on Hawaiian traditional lā‘au lapa‘au, ho‘oponopono, lā‘au kahea and lomilomi ha ha. Free. Hawaiian Homes Hall, Waimea,, (808) 969-9220.
Future Hawai‘i Island workshops

  • May 5, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Old Kona Airport Special Events Pavilion
  • June 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ka‘ū District Gym
  • June 23, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Pāhoa Community Center

CONTACT Opening Reception

April 7, 6 to 9 p.m.
Pu‘uhonua Society presents an art exhibit curated by jurors Keola Naka‘ahiki Rapozo, creative director and co-founder of FITTED, and Michael Rooks, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, High Museum. Honolulu Museum of Art School, The main exhibition will be on display through April 21 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

E Hui Pū

April 11, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A culture-based event that includes Moloka‘i cultural practitioners and experts who will teach and share Hawaiian culture and values with students in grades 9-12 and their families. Participants will engage in hands-on activities to further enhance their cultural experiences that in today’s world competes with modern technology. Moloka‘i High School, Sponsored in part by OHA.

We’re Going to College

April 12
This event will support 9th and 10th grade students from Nānākuli, Wai‘anae and Kapolei High School in attending a Youth Leadership Conference (YLC) that will instill the importance of higher education and provide resources and support to attend and graduate from college. Aulani Resort. Sponsored in part by OHA.

La ‘Ohana Community Workday

April 14, 8 a.m. to noon
Learn about an ancient Hawaiian fishpond and stewardship while connecting to the ‘āina by removing invasive mangrove and continuing restoration of the kuapa (rockwall) at Waikalua Loko I‘a, a fishpond in Kāne‘ohe. Sign up with the Pacific American Foundation, an OHA grantee, at 45-233 Kulauli Street, (808) 392-1284,<">

YMCA Healthy Kids & Community Day

April 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
YMCA brings together nonprofit, education and government organizations to learn about health and family wellness issues and partake in outside activities. OHA will host poi pounding demonstrations throughout the event. Clement Paishon, a Native Hawaiian lo‘i kalo mahi‘ai, will demonstrate how poi is made using a pōhaku ku‘i ‘ai in the traditional board and stone style. Pre-register at Camp Erdman, Waialua, (808) 531-YMCA.

33rd Annual Duke Kahanamoku Beach Challenge

April 15, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Spend the day supporting Waikīkī Community Center with outrigger canoe, stand-up paddle board and kayak races, and classic and contemporary entertainment on land. Free. Duke’s Beach and Lagoon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikīkī Beach Resort,

MoMa Night: Mo‘olelo Maoli Series

April 19, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Throughout 2018, the third Thursday of the month features Hawaiian storytelling, loosely modeled after the “Moth Radio” show concept. Visual and oral story telling by the Hawaiian community adds a new level of understanding and appreciation of the root culture, from the past to ongoing and future challenges and successes. Donations welcome, bring your own pupu. The ARTS at Marks Garage,

26th Annual East Maui Taro Festival

April 21, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This East Maui community event focuses on kalo and the integral role it plays in traditional Hawaiian culture. Food vendors incorporate kalo into their dishes, and there will also be hula and cultural hands-on activities. Free. Hāna Ball Park, Sponsored in part by OHA.

Waimānalo Kanikapila

April 21, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Gabby Pahinui ‘ohana presents their annual daylong celebration of music featuring some of Hawai‘i’s premier kī ho‘alu-slack key and Hawaiian musicians. Free. Waimānalo Beach Park,

The Road to Sustainable Living Workshop

April 21, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Nānākuli Housing Corporation presents a workshop for part-Hawaiians who are renting but want to become homeowners. Topics include how to prepare to purchase and own a home, as well as how to maintain and keep it. Free with registration at (808) 520-2607,<"> Nānākuli Housing Corporation Baseyard Hawai‘i.