Keeping the culture

Maka Herrod, Malie Foundation executive director, hopes the free cultural events that are part of this year’s Kauai Mokihana Festival will teach the keiki and community the importance of Hawaiian values and ho‘okipa, or hospitality.

“We want our keiki to be the keeper in hospitality when … people come and visit,” Herrod said. “We’ve learned these values throughout our whole lives, from our kupuna (elders). It’s our kuleana to perpetuate it and to preserve our culture.”

From hula to music to cultural presentations, the 32nd annual Kauai Mokihana Festival will celebrate a year of Hawaiian hospitality throughout next week starting on Sunday and culminating with the festival awards finale on Saturday, Sept. 24.

“This year is very unique because we have five free events throughout the week. Usually, we have only two,” Herrod said.

The festival kicks off with a free Hawaiian church service at 10 a.m. at Kapaa First Hawaiian Church, which was founded by Queen Deborah Kapule in 1879. Festival volunteers and supporters will provide special music. After the service, refreshments will be available.

The next free event will be at Kanuikapono Charter School at 5 p.m. Tuesday and will be presented by Hinaleimoana Wong, who will be sharing her ho‘okipa (hospitality).

“She’s a composer of many chants,” Herrod said. “One of the main chants that the world is doing because of the concern of mauna kea. She’s going to be sharing that piece and her upbringing.”

A lei-making demonstration will be presented by master lei maker Kaua‘iki Olores at the Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The lei-making demonstration leads up to an event that is resurfacing due to popular demand: Na Lei Pua ‘Ole — the flowerless lei contest at the Kauai Beach Resort at 1 p.m. Friday.

“The five categories are leaves and vines, seeds and nuts, shells, feathers and recycle-reuse,” Herrod said. “I’m hoping to get a lot of people interested.”

Also included in in the festival is the 32nd annual Kauai Composers Concert and Contest at Waimea Theatre at 7 p.m. Monday and a youth singing competition at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Tickets for the composers contest is $20, while the keiki singing competition is $10.

“The children that participate are from the Hawaiian language charter schools on Kauai,” Herrod said. “Throughout the majority of the event, all you’ll hear will be in olelo Hawaii, which is the Hawaiian language.”

Finishing off the week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday is the hula competition at the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort, which starts at 6 p.m. the first two days and noon on the final day. Tickets are $20 online and $25 at the door.

“We have a group from Washington State, Oahu, Japan and Kauai that are participating,” Herrod said. “We have a full calendar of events for everybody. We’re encouraging the people in our community to come out and take advantage of these events.”

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