Nā Hanana

Events, Activities

‘Ūniki Hu‘e Lepo

Thirty-three students of Hālau Mōhala ‘Ilima (thirty-one from Papa Hi‘ikua and one each from the ‘Alalā and ‘Apapane) girded on their pā'ū on Sunday, August 12 at Kahua o Mali‘o, Kāne‘ohe, in public demonstration of the body of hula knowledge they've acquired over the last five years (and more) of study.

View photos and review our ‘ūniki philosophy >>

Maika‘i nō Kaua'i, Hemolele i ka Mālie

Members of our Mamo and ‘Ō‘ō classes visited Kaua‘i on June 12-14, 2009. According to Kau‘i Kaleleiki, above, two of the trip‘s highlights were the plants she studied and the lei she made: "My favorite is laua‘e because we get to put it in our kupe‘e."

View photos and read excerpts from the ladies' journals >>

Rare Koloa Sighting

Our HMI keiki classes (with help from the teens and MM ‘anakē)  performed at the 16th annual I Love Kailua Town Party on Sunday, April 27, 2008. It was the first public appearance of the Koloa (our boysʻ class), pictured here dancing "Kalākaua He Inoa." 

View photos of the event >>

MAMo at the Museum

The keiki appeared again a week later at the Maoli Arts Monthʻs Keiki Art Celebration at the Bishop Museum.  Hū ka busy!

View photos of the event >>

Perched High on Ka‘iwa

Our ‘I‘iwi and ‘Ua‘u classes spent the weekend of May 31,2008, at a hålau sleepover. On Saturday, they hiked to Pōhaku o Hauwahine, Pu‘u o Ehu, and Ka‘iwa; then they swam at Ka‘ōhao, made hilo-style lei lā‘ī, feasted on pizza, and cheered for Whale Rider. On Sunday, they gave their lei to the iwi kūpuna at FHB, breakfasted at Cinnamonʻs, and wove lauhala bracelets. Not too bad a job of finding good stuff to do in our own back yard.


View photos and read excerpts from the ladies’ journals >>

‘Ūniki for Six

Huʻe lepo ceremonies, held at noon on July 17, 2008, marked the graduation of six senior members of our Papa Kamaoka-huliau. Their status as newly sanctioned ‘ōlapa (tradition-bearing dancers) was demonstrated that evening on the lawn below Ulupō Heiau.

View photos of the Ulupō performance >>

A ka Luna o Pu‘u Onioni

Our well-traveled Palila (they do travel very well) visited Kīlauea, Hawai‘i, on the weekend of August 22-24. Their accomplishments include: picking liko lehua and making their first wili-style lei, hiking across Kīlauea Iki Crater, and learning all of "Pu‘u Onioni."

View photos and read excerpts from the young ladiesʻ journals >>

Kāmoa ‘Amelika

In mid-August, Hawai‘iʻs 65-member delegation to the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts spent two eye-opening weeks in American Samoa. Among the delegates were 12 HMI dancer-artisans who returned with deeper perspectives and capacities.

View photos and read excerpts from the FPA program and evaluation >>

New but Old

We entered three groups (men, women, and combined) in the kahiko division of the July 26  King Kamehameha Competition. 

View photos and read a review of our new-but-old look >>

Māluaki‘iwai ke aloha / Ho‘opulu i ka liko māmane

"My affection is for the Maluaki‘iwai breeze / As it soaks the leaf buds of the māmane." The gap between hula and airport art widened yet again at the 2009 Merrie Monarch Festival leaving the HMI crew drenched in the waters of Hilo and Makee but burned almost to a crisp in the realms of Scoresheet and Trophy. Is it time to re-invent ourselves? "I ka ‘ī," say the kumu and her loyalists, "no way."

View photos of our trip and learn a very useful phrase >>

Lahaina, Tokyo, Twinsburg, Waikīkī, Kailua

"I ‘ō i ‘ane‘i" -- "There, here, all over the place." Lahaina in Dec. with the ‘anakē, Tokyo in Jan. for Hula Oni E, Twinsburg in Feb. for the North Coast Hula Workshop, and back home for I Love Kailua in April and the MAMo Wearable Art Show in May. Whew.

View photos of our travels and performances >>

Ho‘olauna 2009

Members of the hālau family gathered at King Intermediate on August 1 for an afternoon of hula and participation awards.

View photos of the event >>

Doing Us Proud

The HMI keiki participated, for the first time, in all four group divisions of the 2009 Queen Liliu‘okalani Keiki Hula

Competition: girls' kahiko and ‘auana, and boys‘ kahiko and ‘auana.  At times, we wondered if we'd bitten off more than we could chew, but the results, though a little scary, suggest that we haven't quite lost our marbles.

View photos of the event >>

‘Akahi Ho‘i Au a ‘Ike Maka

The ‘Alae Ke‘oke‘o class returned from its three-day trip to Maui in September 2009 with a new understanding of aloha ‘āina: love for the land and those who belong to it. Aloha ‘āina, they will now tell you, is an absolutely essential ingredient in our songs and dances, and there is no substitute for learning it in "‘ike maka" fashion -- through first-hand, eye-witness experiences.

View photos and read excerpts from our young ladies' journals >>

Merrie Monarch 2010: Pali Ke Kua, Mahina Ke Alo

"Watching Merrie Monarch last weekend made me realize many different things. The most important of these was how much I love dancing hula and how much I miss it...When Thursday night came and ‘Anakē Christina stepped onto that stage with a big smile on her face, a wave of emotion hit me. There was excitement and joy, but most of all a sense of overwhelming pride. I have so much pride in Hālau Mōhala ‘Ilima, more than I ever thought I had." -- Rachel Kimura (Papa ‘Elepaio I), writing from the U. of the Pacific in Stockton, California.

View photos of HMI at the 2010 Merrie Monarch Festival and read more of Rachel's letter >>

MAMo Wearable Art

When Vicky Holt Takamine, Burton White, and ‘Uluwehi Cazimero put their heads together, the walls of can‘t-do come a-tumbling down.

View photos of the event >>

Tokyo or Bust

Barely a week after the MM '10 Festival, our kumu and these six ladies traveled to Tokyo by plane, bus, and Goofymobile to perform at an U‘ilani Productions Hula Concert.

View photos and a read a review  >>

The ‘Iwa Visit Kaua‘i

As with all HMI nine-year-olds for the last 25 years, our class of 17 ‘Iwa camped at Naue and danced at the centuries-old hula platform of Keahualaka. 

Photos and journal excerpts >>

Merrie Monarch 2011: Where the Hand Goes, the Eye Follows

The hand evokes and the eye connects. It's subtle, nuanced, old school. The connection pictured above is to the sacred cords of Kīlaulani and the "soaring ‘iwa casting shadows on the Alahaka cliffs." But in the increasingly theatric world of hula competition, this subtlety of hand, eye, and poetry flies ‘iwa-like over the curve of Kanaka‘ole Stadium. May we and our allies remain true to a mostly unseen audience and the beat of a different drum.

View hundreds of photos and read a little more about nuance vs. bombast >>

Papa Malanai: ‘Ūniki at Last

When the ladies of the Malanai class finally kākua their kukui-stained pā‘ū and dance "A Ko‘olau Au" at Kapoho Point, Kailua, Ko‘olaupoko, there is no question of their understanding the ko‘olau path (love, duty, self-sacrifice) that Hi‘iaka chose so long ago. No question of their traveling that same path or belonging to that same sisterhood. No question that they have earned an ‘ūniki ‘ailolo.

View photos and read more of our thoughts >>

Broken Camera Blues

Keiki Hula, King Kamehameha Hula, Ho‘olauna '10, and the Lanihuli trip to Kaua‘i – a quck round-up of events nearly missed due to a broken camera and ocd/mia webmaster.

Photos >>

Kamehameha Competition 2011: I Haleakalā ka 'Olu and Kū ē ka ‘Oli‘oli

A mother and her daughter lead their men and women into competition; among these dancers are a brother/uncle, a hānai daughter/sister, a father and his daughter, a father and his son and daughter, twins, baby sisters of old timers, and babies grown up overnight. Surely we are blessed with ‘olu and ‘oli‘oli because of this foundation in family.

Photos, results, and an opinion or two >>

E Ho‘olauna Pū Kākou

31 years ago, someone had the bright idea of hosting an informal, afternoon gathering during which our classes could share their hula (whether polished or still in-progress) and our families could ho‘olauna -- introduce themselves, make friends, and enjoy each other's company. Although we've sometimes tinkered with our Ho‘olauna format and venue, its spirit of sharing and fellowship, we think, has always run true. 

Photos and mana‘o >>

Merrie Monarch 2012: Nani Wale na Pua Lei ‘Apiki

Songs of love for lāhui, land, and family – all infused with more than a bit of lei ‘āpiki  risk-taking – gave rise to a Merrie Monarch experience that we keep turning over in our minds as a lesson in the identity and direction of our hālau as it continues, after three decades, to mōhala.

View hundreds of photos and read a little more about inspiration, capacity, and unbroken ties  >>

Keiki Hula 2011

The young ladies of HMI's Pua Māmane class brought home the Malia Craver Hawaiian Language Award in this year‘s Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula Competition. This is the one event-given award that we hold dear (we are, after all, a language-first hālau), but it pales in comparison to a different and even more important kind of trophy: the growth and beauty of our golden māmane blossoms.

Photos and a mom’s letter >>

I Ka Leo Ke Ola: Mamiya Theater 2012

Our fundraising concert for the Hawai‘i delegation to the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts succeeded on several fronts, not the least of which was the re-integration of mo‘olelo and mele hula in a framework that is more nūpepa Hawai‘i than hana keaka Maleka.

View photos and read more of our thoughts >>

MAMo 2012: Wearable Art

HMI dancers continue to challenge the western norms of catwalk modeling, and two of the event’s designers continue to push for a uniquely Hawaiian synthesis of native culture and haute couture.

Photos and mana‘o >>

Summer Wrap Up: Alaska, King Kamehameha Hula, Prince Lot

Somewhere between washing “Ke Ala a ka Jeep” costumes and packing Eia Hawai‘i polos for the Solomons, this web master realized that time, technology, and Apple’s shut down of Mobile Me had gotten the better of him. Somewhere between cleaning up the kukui oil press and putting away “A i Waimea” costumes, he managed to rebuild the site and, with apologies, assemble this incomplete and not-in-depth review of our HMI summer.

Photos and brief reviews >>

The 11th Festival of Pacific Arts: Welo Ana Ku‘u Hae Hawai‘i

Just when we thought we could not have been filled with more pride and aloha for our nation, we noticed a huge portion of the crowd, filled with hundreds of school children, begin to flutter and transform before our eyes. Suddenly, the square-sized space, once filled with young faces, was replaced by hundreds of placards held above the children's heads, creating a magnificent image of our Hawaiian flag.” – Pualani Steele, Honiara

Photos and essays from our delegates >>

Kailua Neighborhood Board, Pala ka Mai‘a

“...We provide this lengthy description of the Hōkūle‘a’s visit to Kailua on October 16-19, 2013, because it speaks of a Kailua Hawaiian community that the Kailua Neighborhood Board’s ʻKawainui Marsh Restoration Planʻ has chosen to pre-empt.  Our community is more than capable of enlightened self-expression and self-determination; its roll call of leaders, young and old, includes deeply-rooted cultural practitioners and accomplished professionals in the very fields – science, education, conservation, planning, construction, governance, finance – that the KNB has deemed us lacking.  But ours is also a community whose cultural activities have been relegated to temporarily cordoned-off sections of beach park, to rented studios and meeting places, to backyards, garages, and Pier One parking lots, and to a pittance of limited-area, limited-access, limited-activity sites along the Kawainui perimeter.  We are a community in need of permanent place and facility, and we view the KNB’s proposal for the restoration of Kawainui – the board’s self-professed “soul of Kailua” – as sadly deficient because it fails to accommodate Kailua’s native people and culture in any significant way.” (Photo: Nicholas Tomasello)

Read our complete response to the KNB plan  >>

Merrie Monarch 2014 Preview

Ke Aloha ‘Āina sentiments resonate (as they always do) in the mele weʻve selected for our Miss Aloha Hula and wāhine performances. These mele include a new composition for Wai‘auia and its guardians, a Robert- Cazimero-taught reprise of Uncle Henry Pa’s “Kākuhihewa,” and two beautiful but almost unknown compositions for lands and place-names that must not be forgotten.

Photos and fact sheet excerpts >>

Merrie Monarch 2014: Aloha Pua Komela Kākou! Komela Blossom Greetings to All.

Yes, those are pua komela (camellias) in our lei ‘ā‘ī - a flower symbolic of the loyalists of the 1890s. "Aloha pua komela kāua!" is how the ‘ai pōhaku greeted each other and rallied to their cause. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that camellias have been used in MM lei; it marks the return, after nearly a century, of public celebration of the komela for its associations with loyalty to Kākuhihewa, to the ali‘i of Kūkaniloko, and to the Hawaiian nation itself.

View hundreds of photos and read a little more about our meaning-imbued experiences at this year’s MM  >>

Pulelo Ha‘aheo ke Ahi o Kamaile: Proud Moments for the ‘Ohana dS

Brother/Uncle Kauka de Silva, a mingei ceramicist and KCC Arts professor, was honored with a prestigious MAMo 2014 “Kumu Kukui” award for “outstanding artistic and educational contributions.” And Māpuana and Kīhei de Silva (along with Dr. Ben Young, the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana, and Dee Jay Mailer) shared a UH Mānoa “I Ulu i ke Kumu” award “for extraordinary commitment and excellence in Native Hawaiian education.”

Photos and an acceptance speech >>

Moses and Marcus with Hanalei Marzan, MAMo 2014

We find ourselves pushing with Marzan’s po‘e kū i ke kā‘ai through the waters of what we hope is a pre-dawn, moku ka pawa darkness. Surely we are moving into the light and not groping after its last fading shards. Marzan’s slow-motion tableau makes you think this way; as always, the fashion show is his vehicle for an examination of maoli identity.

There were three MAMo wearable art shows this year: view photos and comments >>

Wherever You Sail, We Sail With You

We couldnʻt make the big farewell festivities, so Maya Saffery arranged with Bruce Blankenfeld for an earlier visit, and we did our best to call upon the generations, wave upon wave, to honor and bear witness to the work of the mother of our rebirth, the Hōkūle‘a.

More photos and links to Maya Saffery’s and Kaleo Wongʻs roles on the first leg of the worldwide voyage >>