Kawaili‘ula wins overall title at Merrie Monarch

By Nina Wu on April 7, 2013

HILO >> It was close, but kumu hula Chinky Mahoe’s Kawaili‘ula, a crowd favorite, took the overall title of the 50th Merrie Monarch Festival late last night.

The difference was just three points, with Kumu Mapuana de Silva’s Halau Mohala ‘Ilima next in line for the overall title.
Kawaili‘ula of Kailua swept the men’s categories, winning first place in kane kahiko, auana and kane overall last night. Halau Moahala Ilima took first place in women’s kahiko and wahine overall.

Kumu hula Aloha Dalire (the festival’s first Miss Hula in 1971) of Keolalaulani Halau ‘Olapa O Laka took top place in women’s auana. Her three daughters and granddaughter danced with the halau in the competition this year.

For three days, the best of hula was on display on the hallowed stage of the Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium for the 50th Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo this year.

On Thursday night, 12 solo dancers vied for the title of Miss Aloha Hula, which went to Manalani Mili Hokoana English of Maui.
On Friday and Saturday nights, a total of 29 groups competed – 18 wahine (women) and 11 kane (men), in a display of talent that made it tough to determine the winners.

The bar was set high on kahiko night Friday, as halau displayed athleticism, precision and a mastery of the oli, or chant, during the ancient-style portion of the competition.

During the auana, or modern style hula portion on Saturday night, it was all about love — whether it be love for one’s alii (rulers), love for certain places in Hawaii and love for hula itself. Dancers demonstrated beauty, grace and creativity and transported the audience to several places – ranging from Kekaha, Kauai to Waimanalo, Oahu, the Hawaiian homestead of Keaukaha on Hawaii island, as well as Kahoolawe, Lanai, a mountain peak on Maui and even Palisa, or Paris.

Many halau paid homage to King David Kalakaua, fitting for the commemoration of the festival’s 50th year.

Overall Winner
>> Kawailiʻula, Chinky Māhoe, Kailua, Oahu 1155

Wahine Kahiko
>> Halau Mohala ‘Ilima, kumu Mapuana de Silva, Kailua, Oahu 570
>> Hula Halau ‘O Kamuela, Kauʻionalani Kamanaʻo and Kunewa Mook, Kalihi & Waimanalo, Oahu 568 (tie breaker 795)
>> Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leinaʻala, Kumu Leinaʻala Pavao Jardin
Kalaheo, Kauaʻi 568 (tie breaker 786)
>> Ka La ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe, Tracie and Keawe Lopes, Kahauiki, Oahu 565
>> Halau Hula Olana, Kumu Olana and Howard Ai, Puʻuloa, Oahu 554

Wahine Auana
>> Keolalaulani Halau ʻOlapa O Laka, Aloha Dalire, Heeia, Oahu and Hilo, Hawaii 585
>> Hula Halau ‘O Kamuela, Kauʻionalani Kamanaʻo and Kunewa Mook, Kalihi & Waimanalo, Hawaii 583
>> Halau Mohala ‘Ilima, kumu Mapuana de Silva, Kailua, Oahu 582
>> Ka La ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe, Tracie and Keawe Lopes, Kahauiki, Oahu 577
>> Halau Hula ʻO Kahikilaulani, Nahokuokalani Gaspang, Hilo, Hawaii 572

Wahine Overall
>> Halau Mohala ‘Ilima, kumu Mapuana de Silva, Kailua, Oahu 1152
>> Hula Halau ‘O Kamuela, Kauʻionalani Kamanaʻo and Kunewa Mook, Kalihi & Waimanalo, Oahu 1151
>> Ka La ʻOnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe, Tracie and Keawe Lopes, Kahauiki, Oahu 1142

Kane Kahiko
>>Kawailiʻula, Chinky Māhoe, Kailua, Oahu 566
>>Halau Kekuaokalaʻauʻalaʻiliahi, Kumu ʻIliahi and Haunani Paredes, Wailuku, Maui 565 (tiebreaker 789)
>>Ke Kai O Kahiki, Laʻakea Perry, Waianae, Oahu 565 (tiebreaker 787)
>>Halau Hula ʻO Kahikilaulani, Nahokuokalani Gaspang, Hilo, Hawaii 562

Kane Auana
>> Kawailiʻula, Chinky Māhoe, Kailua, Oahu 589
>> Halau I Ka Wekiu, Karl Veto Baker and Michael Casupang, Pauoa, Oahu 586
>> Halau Hula ʻO Kahikilaulani, Nahokuokalani Gaspang, Hilo, Hawaii 579
>> Halau Kekuaokalaʻauʻalaʻiliahi, Kumu ʻIliahi and Haunani Paredes, Wailuku, Maui 570

Kane Overall
>> Kawailiʻula, Chinky Māhoe, Kailua, Oahu 1155
>> Halau I Ka Wekiu, Karl Veto Baker and Michael Casupang, Pauoa, Oahu 1145
>> Halau Hula ʻO Kahikilaulani, Nahokuokalani Gaspang, Hilo, Hawaii 1141