Maui is Merrie: Local halau best at festival

Wailuku troupe makes history with win

May 2, 2011
By KEKOA ENOMOTO – Staff Writer , The Maui News

HILO – The center of the hula practitioner’s world shifted to Maui over the weekend, when a Wailuku halau scored a hat trick unprecedented for Valley Isle halau. The extraordinary achievement capped the 48th annual Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition early Sunday at the Aunty Edith Kanaka’ole Tennis Stadium in Hilo.

Halau Ke’alaokamaile claimed the Miss Aloha Hula crown Thursday, won by Tori Hulali Canha of Wailuku. Then, in wahine group competition, halau members recreated a first-place hula kahiko (traditional) Friday, and garnered second place in hula auana (modern) and overall event honors Saturday.

“We’re happy – no matter what,” said Keali’i Reichel, kumu hula of the Central Maui halau, who’s known to emphasize practicing culture in the context of halau versus winning.

“We’re glad to represent Maui with the other halau,” he said.

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