Na Paniolo ‘O Kaua’i

A equestrian parade unit made up of 12 riders, six pooper-scoopers and 11-member support crew represented Kaua’i in the Aloha Week Parade held at Waikiki on O’ahu Saturday. The group was one of over a dozen who rode down Kalakaua Avenue honoring the ethnic heritage of the people who immigrated to Hawai’i. The Marriott Resort-sponsored Kaua’i group represented the vaqueros of Spanish-Indian decent who brought ranching skills to Hawai’i to teach native Hawaiians the art of working the ranges beginning in the 1830s.

The leis worn by the group’s horses were made of La’i, or Ki, plant, which were tied together in a rope fashion representing the lasso braiding of the vaqueros. Each horse was adorned with a rope la’i made up of over 500 ti leaves.

The group raised $25,000 to underwrite their participation in the colorful parade. The Marriott Vacation Club and Marriott Resorts in Hawai’i were major supporters of the unit.

One year ago the parade unit traveled to Honolulu for the parade. Unfortunately, the attacks on America of Sept. 11 caused the cancellation of the annual parade, but the group pulled together to return this year despite the set back of last year.

“We returned again this year to show the spirit and the strength of the people of Kaua’i, and how we can pull together as we did after Hurricane ‘Iniki,” said rider Laureen Naumu-Balocan. She said parade organizers especially recognized how the unit worked together, the details of their costumes, the beauty of their leis and the riding skills in what is called the third-largest parade in the world.

The men’s escort unit, bottom right, included riders, l. to r., Emery Remata, Robb Naumu, Doug Chang, Marshall Aviguetero, David Shimogawa, Herman Kaohelaulii, and Norman Hookano.

The women attendant riders included: Sandy Aki, Lani Aranio, Shelly Kaui-Carvalho, Laureen Naumu-Balocan, and Gayleen Palama.

The ground crew featured: Jeffrey Carvalho, Akiko Chang, Laurie Kaohelaulii, Ben Nakaahiki, Amy Naumu, Joyce Okinaka, Damien Omakanim, Bruce Smalling, Donna Stewart, Dane Waialeale and Jade Waialeale, and Noe Hookano.

The pooper scoopers, bottom left, included: Tai, who replaced Timothy Tin; Clyde Carvalho, Anthony Balocan behind the surgical mask, Dickie Chang, Rafi Kaleo Kaui and Kaupena Kinimaka. Contributed photos

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