Eō e nā kini, nā mamo, a me po‘e aloha ‘āina, mai ka moku o Keawe a i ka mole mai ‘o Lehua, aloha!
Last month the entire state and viewers worldwide were able to witness another year of the Merrie Monarch Festival. I want to send out to all the kumu, po‘e hula, kāko‘o, and ‘ohana my congratulations for all the hana nui, dedication, and aloha you put forth at the festival. It is truly a treasure to be able to witness the 55th anniversary of the Merrie Monarch, the growth of hula, and the perpetuation of our ancient traditions. There is nothing quite like it, ‘a‘ohe lua e like ai.
I would like to send my aloha to all the hālau representing Maui, and especially to my daughter, Nāpua, and the women of Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka o Uka. I could not be more proud to have been there and seen your efforts and hard work be rewarded. Over the past 22 years, Nāpua has been teaching hula, for which some of her haumāna have been with her from the beginning. It has been a journey of growth, and continually pushing the envelope while staying true to her traditions. I’d also like to send a word of ho‘omaika‘i to this year’s Miss Aloha Hula, Shalia Kapuau‘ionālani Kikuyo Kamakaokalani, who represented Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka o Uka. You were transcendent with your performance, and your chanting during your hula noho on kahiko night was most notable. You could tell your ancestors were with you. E ho‘omaika‘i, we were all so proud of you!
For several years now, OHA has been a proud sponsor of the award for best ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i performance. This year’s winner was Miss Aloha Hula contestant Ecstasy Jetta Laverne Kamakalikolehua Ligon, from hālau ‘o Ka Lā ‘ōnohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e, who placed as first runner up. E ho‘omaika‘i ia‘oe kekahi! Your oli was not only beautiful but haunting, and I know you have made your kumu, kūpuna, and ‘ohana very proud. E ola mai i ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i.
I will be the first to say that Maui people are very proud. With that said, I’d like to congratulate Kumu Hula ‘o Haunani and ‘Iliahi Paredes of Hālau Kekuaokalā‘au‘ala‘iliahi, who placed 2nd in Hula ‘Auana, Hula Kahiko and overall for the kāne competition, and Kumu Hula Kamaka Kukona of Hālau O Ka Hanu Lehua, who placed 4th for Hula ‘Auana for the Wahine competition.
Merrie Monarch is an incredible opportunity for our people to gather and celebrate culture, language and hula. I am thrilled to hear all the people speaking our mother tongue and perpetuating our traditions. I say to you, e ho‘omau! Continue your efforts to reconnect with our past and move our people forward.
As OHA moves forward, may we take note of the example you, the lāhui, have set forth for us. Let your aloha be our guidance as we make our decisions that impact your lives. Mahalo for all of your continued support as we work to improve your agency.
‘O au iho no me ke aloha,
Trustee Hulu Lindsey