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Halau returns to Lili‘uokalani contest

Like a general leading her warriors to battle on Wednesday, Kumu Hula Leina‘ala Pavao Jardin of Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina‘ala took the first step toward their waiting flight to O‘ahu where the halau will participate in the 2023 Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula Competition.

“This is an exciting time for our keiki,” she said. “This is our return to keiki hula after several years of the competition being canceled due to COVID-19, and my daughter, who was a winner in 2013, will be one of the emcees for this event on the 10th anniversary of her victory. It’s very exciting. The halau is bringing 22 kaimakahine and seven keikikane.”

The 2023 Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula competition runs Thursday and Friday at Cannon Activities Center on the campus of Brigham Young University in La‘ie. A special series, the Keiki Mini Hula Series, took place in-person on Wednesday for performers ages 3 to 6 and 7 to 12 at Global Village Hawai‘i in Honolulu.

“Not only are we returning to the competition, this is the first time we’ll be performing at BYU,” she said. “We always used to perform at the Neal Blaisdell Center. Our halau started performing with the Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula in 2009, and considering the time off for COVID, this is going to be our 10th or 11th anniversary of performing.”

The annual Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula Competition is an annual event for keiki that brings together hula halau from across the Hawaiian Islands and Japan to perform and compete for the coveted Miss Keiki Hula and Master Keiki Hula Awards, along with kahiko and ‘auana competitions that award for best keikikani, or boys, and kaimakahine, or girls, in the top five places.

The top halau in Hawaiian language, or ‘olelo awards, as well as the overall winning halau for best in keikikane and kaimakahine, will also be recognized.

Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina‘ala is the sole halau representing Kaua‘i at this year’s Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula Competition. For those wishing to watch the competition, kumu said the event will be streamed live on The BYU events on Thursday and Friday are scheduled to run from 5 to 9 p.m. each dau.

The Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula competition started in 1976 by the Kalihi-Palama Culture &Arts Society as a festival to honor Hawai‘i’s last reigning monarch, Queen Lili‘uokalani. It has grown to an event where keiki could share their achievements in hula while learning about Queen Lili‘uokalani, her ‘ohana, and Hawai‘i’s historical past, states the Queen Lili‘uokalani Keiki Hula website.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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