In honor of the ‘Merrie Monarch’

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Hula Halau O Kou Lima Nani ‘E of Hilo, led by kumu hula Iwalani Kalima, performs during the 2018 Merrie Monarch Festival group hula ‘auana competition Saturday at Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium in Hilo.

  • Halau Hiiakainamakalehua. (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald)

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Halau o Ka Ua Kani Lehua, under the direction of kumu hula Johnny Lum Ho, performs in the group hula ‘auana competition Saturday at Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium in Hilo.

HILO — The men of Halau Hiiakainamakalehua, an Oahu halau, danced “Kaua I Ka Nani Ao Hilo,” a mele hooipoipo (love song) honoring King David Kalakaua, in Saturday night’s group hula ‘auana (modern hula) competition at the 55th annual Merrie Monarch Festival.

The halau, under the direction of co-kumu hula Robert Keano Kaupu IV, a Keaukaha native, and Lono Padilla, a Mauian, brought both kane (men) and wahine (women) to the “Super Bowl of Hula.” Their performance was among 29, nine by kane groups and 20 by wahine groups, representing 24 halau at the Edith Kanakaole Multi-Purpose Stadium in Hilo.


Saturday’s competition and the awards ceremony, which took place early Sunday morning, concluded later than West Hawaii Today’s print deadline.

Also on Saturday, the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade wound its way through downtown Hilo. Awards were given for the outstanding floats, pa‘u princesses, p‘au units and pooper scoopers, as follows:

• Outstanding Pa‘u Princess:

1st place – Kea Keolanui, representing Oahu

2nd place – Jessica Kaleianuenue Kunishige, representing Maui

3rd place – Diane Pualani Aki-Texeira (representation not submitted)

• Outstanding Pa‘u Unit:

1st place – Oahu

2nd place – Maui

3rd place – Molokai

• Outstanding Pooper Scooper:

1st place – Molokai

2nd place – Oahu

3rd place – Maui

• Overall Combined Award


• Floats:

1st place – Halau Hula O Kahikilaulani

2nd place – Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko


3rd place – Tie: Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union and Wal-Mart.

Email John Burnett at

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