Kauai Kau Wela lights up Kamokila

WAILUA — The 8th annual Summer Festival Kauai Kau Wela unfolded over the weekend at Kamokila.

“This is not a show,” Ilima Rivera said Friday night during the festival’s opening. “This is about culture and about everything that is in this site which was an actual Hawaiian village.”

Ilima, accompanied by Na Kane O Kamokila, Punohu the Warrior and Pohaku the Chanter highlighted the opening day of the two-day festival at Kamokila Hawaiian Village.

“We lost our canoe during the heavy rains,” Ilima said. “Now that Coco Palms is starting work, we used the double-hulled canoe from the wedding. When the guys went to get it, it was too big so they wanted to cut it. But no, it has too much mana‘o in it. But we got it here.”

Ilima — assisted by her father, Larry Rivera of Coco Palms fame — explained that “Wela” means heat in Hawaiian, and the festival is about the summer heat.

The stories of Kamokila and symbolism were central to the event, which incorporated crafters and entertainment including Keahiwela, fire dancers and the haunting arrival of Punohu in the final whispers of light.

Canoe rides, Polynesian dance, coconut painting and a hula hoop contest filled the day Saturday.


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