Deizsa Moniz of Waimanalo chanted the mele for the group and won the prestigious Keiki Hawaiian Language Award.
by Hakumele `Olelo
If you asked 26 young ladies of Pukaikapuaokalani Hula Halau what they did this summer, I'm sure you'd hear their screams of delight all the way from Waimanalo to Kahalu'u. This is because they all participated in this year's 20th annual Keiki Hula Competition on August 3, 4 and 5 at the NBC Arena, sponsored by the Kalihi-Palama Culture and Arts Society, and they were all winners!
The halau's solo contestant, 11-year old Pi`ilani Klein of Waimanalo, was the 3rd runner-up in the Miss Keiki competition. She performed a lovely interpretation of the mele "Lei Pikake" by the Hoku Award-winning duo, "Hapa". On Kahiko night, 8-year old Deizsa Moniz, also from Waimanalo, chanted the mele for the group and won the prestigious Keiki Hawaiian Language Award. And in Saturday's Auana competition, the entire group, more than half of whom live in Waiamanalo, won 4th place for their beautiful rendition of Green Rose Hula.
All this could not have happened without the efforts and love of their Kumu Hula, long-time Waimanalo resident Ellen Castillo.
"I am just amazed and proud of these girls and what they have accomplished," Ellen said. "They worked hard, very hard. We had less than two months to prepare. Only my Miss Keiki, Pi`ilani, had been in competition before. None of the other girls had ever performed on stage, let alone on TV. In fact, 15 of the girls had never even studied hula before! I am so proud of them all. And I want to thank their parents, because the parents are the backbone of the halau. Without their support, this could not have happened."
In addition to teaching her regular classes at the halau's studio in Kailua, Ellen also teaches after-school hula classes at Pope Elementary, Keolu Elementary, and Kalaheo High School. So come on, all you kaikamahines, sign up and let's see those `amis.