Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 |
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The mo’i, mo’i wahine and the Royal Court lead the parade as part of the respected tradition. (LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)
Lai Bertelmann represents Lanai in the keiki pa’u, along with her four-year-old nephew Kailihiwa Cox. (LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)
WAIMEA — Paniolo and pa’u riders representing all eight inhabited Hawaii islands marched down Mamalahoa Highway Saturday morning for the 43rd annual Paniolo Parade in Waimea.
Horses were crowd stoppers, adorned with intricate lei representing the flowers or shells of their islands. Schools, church groups, businesses and the Hawaii County Band also participated in the hour-long parade that began at Waimea Cherry Blossom Park and concluded at Waimea Park. There, the Ho’olaulea — the crafts show of the year featuring live Hawaiian musical entertainment, island foods, games, arts &crafts and Hawaiian products — continued through mid-afternoon.
This year’s mo’i was Keith Kalaniku’uipo Kaniho Jr. Better known as “Keke,” he has been a service manager for TMS Construction for 14 years. Kaniho Jr. is a member of Halau Na Kipu’upu’u and sits on the cultural board for the Waimea Hawaiian Homestead Association. He has been a member of the Royal Court family for more than 25 years. His son, Kahiau Kalanikuha’aha’ Kaniho, was keiki ali’i in the parade and is a junior at Honokaa High School where he competes on the track team.
Mo’i wahine was Nau’ileiilima Elizabeth Murphy. She is a science teacher at Waimea Middle School and has danced hula for Kumu Linda Kalawa and Kumu Michael Pang, and paddled for Kawaihae Canoe Club. Her weekends are spent in Waipio at the family lo’i and at their Pu’ukapu farm lot with their animals.
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