Hapa Haole Hula succeeds each year in bringing the best of the Hawaiian and Haole cultures together creating an atmosphere of friendship and aloha to overflow the crowded ballroom at Kauai Beach Hotel and Resort.
Friday evening, cheers and hugs greeted the dancers who placed first in the Business Group, Papa Laua‘e O Makana and first place Business Soloist, Mele Apana.
As in years past, some of the best entertainment that includes audience participation occurs during intermission.
While hula and musical judges worked feverishly to tally the scores, host Nathan Kalama brought the novel and the sublime to the stage.
Visitors from Alaska, Delaware, India and New Zealand, chosen from the audience to be island princesses for the event representing Maui, Hawai‘i, ‘Oahu and Kaua‘i respectively, performed a Hula-Hoop, hula competition.
The Kauai island representative Ipu Maxwell-Brown from Aotearoa, New Zealand, won by overwhelming applause, likely due to home island advantage.
A dozen spontaneous hula competitors from the audience danced to the song “Hanalei by Moonlight,” and lovely Mokihana Poai was acknowledged the winner.
Aunty Makuana Yasui performed two superb hula, proving that a life of dancing hula enhances graceful movement.
All this transpired under the royal gaze of the honorary king and queen, Gottfried and Dsyomor Dilpinger, visitors from Austria chosen from the audience, who were delighted to receive lei and special seating for the entire event. These memories will likely be shared with hundreds of relatives and friends upon their return home.
Hapa Haole Hula Competition features songs inspired by the Hawaiian culture and lyrics are usually sung in English.
Performing musicians included Kawika “Butter” Defries, Boy Apana and Keola Alalem’s impressive falsetto.
A special music award went to Papa Laua‘e O Makana, featuring Lady Ipo Kanahele.
Hapa Haole Hula Competition Results by category winner:
• Halau Opio Solo n Nanea Nobrega
• Halau Opio Solo n Dominique Pascua
• Hotel Solo n Jodi Keala Hashimoto-Omo
• Businesses Solo:
1st place n Mele Apana
2nd place nYuko Yoshida
3rd place n Chanell Flores
• Business Group Winners by Sponsor:
1st place n Papa Laua‘e O Makana
2nd place n Dr. Robert Ancheta, Optometrist
3rd place n Menehune Plantation
Judges for the event listed by theme were: Music n Kahanu Smith; Hotels n Stella Burgess; Hula n Aunty Nani Higa; Head judge and executive alakai n Kevin Kenui Kasparavich.
Auditors for the event were: Ho‘ola Lahui Hawai’i, Kauai Community Health Center.
With a goal to acknowledge the cultural talents of those who work in the visitor industry, Hapa Haole Hula May Day is a fundraiser for the Kaua‘i Mokihana Festival.
Event sponsors include the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, County of Kaua‘i Economic Development Office, Kauai Beach Hotel and Resort, Halau Hula O Hali‘ileo, Gateways, T&R Trophies, Kauai Worldwide Communications, Kahikolu Productions, Dr. Robert Ancheta, optometrist, The Ladies of Ke Ala O Ka Laua‘e, Menehune Plantation and Papa Laua‘e O Makana.