Mele and hula tribute honors 200th anniversary in Hawaiian history

Local News
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HONOLULU (KHON2) — The University of Hawaii at Manoa Hawaiinuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge is presenting a performance tribute titled Ka Hulina Au: The Changing Time on November 10, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at UH Manoa’s Andrews Amphitheater.

The tribute and fundraiser for Native Hawaiian student scholarships will feature mele (music) and hula by many of Hawaii’s most well-known kumu hula and their halau including Vicky and Jeff Takamine, Mapuana de Silva, Manu Boyd, Leilani Basham, Tracie and Keawe Lopes and Snowbird Bento. Oratory will be performed by Laakapu Lenchanko, Haalilio Solomon and Frank Damas.

There will also be musical performances and poetry by Pacific Tongues, Kealii Reichel, the Osorio Ohana and Kihei Nahale-a. Actors from the UH Manoa original play Aua Ia: Holding On, written and directed by Tammy Hailiopua Baker, will perform a portion of the play.

“We’re seeing this, really, as another opportunity for kanaka to come together, for the people of Hawaii to come together, and to see and enjoy the artistry and expertise of our people in these performing arts and to remember a really critical time,” said UH Manoa Hawaiinuiakea Dean Jon Osorio.

That critical time is the 200th anniversary of one of the last great battles among the chiefs at Lekeleke in Kona on Hawaii Island sparked by a decision a month prior by the heirs of Kamehameha the Great to end aikapu. Also referred to as kapu, the social and religious practice, which was more than a thousand years old at the time, ritually separated all men and women, alii and makaainana, from eating in each other’s presence. It also included strict prohibitions of certain foods to men and certain foods to women. Many of those who defended aikapu at Lekeleke, including the chiefs that led the losing effort, died in battle.

“The purpose of this concert is to honor those chiefs who both did this, made this decision, to change society, and those who resisted that change, who honored the tradition,” said Osorio. “Many of us believe we are going through a similar kind of transformation in Hawaii now, not just for Native Hawaiians, but for all of us who live here. Difficult times, difficult decisions and choices. At some point, we feel we need to understand that we have gone through those periods before and survived.”

The event is a fundraiser for the Hawaiinuiākea emergency scholarship fund for Native Hawaiian students enrolled at UH Manoa.

“It’s something that can be delivered relatively quickly and it’s proven to be a real blessing over the years for students who needed the extra assistance to keep them in school and get them to graduation,” said Osorio.

General admission for the performance tribute is $29 and student admission is $15.

To purchase tickets, go to the Hawaiinuiākea website or Facebook, email or call (808) 956-0980.

Food trucks will be available when the doors open at 5 p.m. including Just Ice, Sistah Truck, Holoholo Grill, Da Spot, Hot Tacos and Rocket Coffee. The event is alcohol, tobacco and drug free, and no outside food, drinks or coolers will be allowed.

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