Kaua‘i Community College student Kauluwehiokekai Oliver won the overall vahine solo award at the Kaua‘i Polynesian Festival, May 25. After taking first place in her category, 18- to 21-year-old vahine, she then competed against the first-place winners in all other age categories. Oliver is majoring in Hawaiian studies, which is broadening her knowledge of Polynesian dance and culture. She is a graduate of Kapa‘a High School.
There was a three-way tie for first place for the overall best dancer title. The best dancers in all the categories, as well as last year’s winner, compete with each other and the overall best dancer is chosen. This year, after the first dance-off with six girls, a second dance-off was held, because Lani Figaroa, Saeja Lee and Wehi Oliver all received the same amount of points. Wehi was then chosen after judges rated the vahine again.
Oliver trained with her sister Mi Nei Keanuenuemaluhia Oliver, who is a 26-time first-place award-winner, as well as former Miss Garden Isle.
Mi Nei’s Kaua‘i-based group, Urahutia, provided the festival with two more winners in the 18 to 21 solo vahine category: Second place was taken by Kelsie Yomen, Kaua‘i High School graduate and Cava-Lei Wilson, a student at HPU and another Kapa‘a High graduate, took third place. The dance troupe Urahutia performs at Princeville Resort Lu‘au, Poi‘pu Shopping Village and the Westin Princeville.