It’s about the kupuna

“Deeply rooted in the Kahiko nd Auana of Kau’ai, reminisce as we tell the story with the essence of our Kupuna.” — Ka Ipu Ha’a ‘O kekau’ ilani Na Pua Hala ‘O Kau’ai

“In the Name of Aloha Concert” presented by Kumu Puna Kalama Dawson and her Haumana Ka Ipu Ha’a ‘O kekau’ ilani Na Pua Hala ‘O Kau’ai, will feature a documentary film and a concert of Hawaiian mele and hula. Join them in the sharing lei of memories to honor Loea Kumu Hula Lokalia Montgomery and their Hula lineage, Aunty Sally Woods Naluai, Aunty Nana Kekau’ilani Kalama, Aunty Maiki Aiu Lake, and Aunty Nellie Wong Hookano Nunes on Saturday at the Waimea Theater.

In the mid-1960s, Kumu Elizabeth K. Kalama, also known as Aunty Nana, lived on Kailua Beach on Oahu. Aunty Nana grew weary of reading the inaccurate information written about the Hawaiian people and the spirit of Aloha in publications. She realized the only way to change this was to go out into the world and educate people through hands-on experiences.

With Hawaiian musicians and hula dancers, she traveled around the globe to bring people together in the name of aloha. This was the intention in everything she did. After she passed on, her son Kai continued on her work until he joined her in heaven.

Today, Aunty Nana’s daughter Kumu Puna Kalama Dawson carries on her mother’s wishes to the spirit of Aloha around the world in programs she calls — In the Name of Aloha.

Last September was the 50th anniversary of Aunty Nana’s legacy. This weekend’s concert will showcase the lineages of each Kumu who contributed to Aunty Nana’s legacy as either a first and/or second-generation kumu hula uniki (graduated) under her, or is an off-spring of one who has worked closely with Aunty Nana.

A special guest of honor is Kauai’s own Aunty Nellie Wong Hookano Nunes who moved to Kauai just two days after her kumu hula uniki, when she married Puna’s Uncle Arthur Hookano. Aunty Nellie has been a mentor to Puna, especially during her early childhood visits to Kauai to work in the salt beds at the Hanapepe Salt Ponds.

From Aunty Nellie’s teachings, Puna gained a deeper understanding of how the kupuna created mele and hula to preserve and perpetuate significant details in culture. Aunty Nellie raised her family in Hanapepe and celebrates hula with her children and grandchildren.

Education is a high priority for Puna who passionately contributes to Kanuikapono Charter School in Anahola and Kauai’s Polynesian voyaging canoe the Namahoe. Puna is quoted, “Kanuikapono is a big part of our haumana. Both the charter school and the Namahoe are important education centers for our island. The Namahoe will soon be in the water, and how lucky we are to have our own floating classroom.”

Today, working quietly Puna continues to connects people and nurtures relationships to bridge na ohana — families and communities. Joyfully warms hearts and uplifts spirits by simply sharing hula and Hawaiian ways, all the while paying close attention to signs sent from her ancestors.

Currently, Puna is developing an international student exchange program between Kauai, Japan and Europe.

In the Name of Aloha Concert program begins at 6 p.m., doors open at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are $15.

Info: (808) 651-0799 or email: inthenameofalohaconcert@gmail.com.

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