Helehelena mai kauhale loke….…
"faces from the City of Roses" ……..
Many of us grew up in smaller communities back in Hawai`i where combining resources and sharing tasks towards common goals was pretty easy because the islands were small and communities close-knit. Now that many of us Hawaiian Islanders live up here on the mainland, in locales separated by miles and scattered all over the place, combining resources to achieve a common goal is very difficult, if not impossible!
My Profile guests are from the Portland area who have chosen to do things the old Hawaiian way, combining their resources to achieve a common goal in spite of huge obstacles of time and distance and even individual preferences! Their goal is to get as many ethnic Hawaiians from the Portland/Vancouver area to register in the Kau Inoa Ethnic Hawaiian Registry Program as possible. Their process for informing people about the Kau Inoa Register is just as unique as their combining resources. Each month, they put on an hour long live pageant combining oli’s (chants) and hula (mixture of Kahiko/ancient and auana/modern dancing) and mo`olelo (marrations) which tells the story of the Hawaiian people through the ages…about Kings and Queens…about life and death…about land and liberties lost! The program is very powerful and informative and has successfully solicited over fifty Kau Inoa registrations so far! This is a situation where it takes many to make one event successful so the cast is huge. It is also necessary to put things into perspective by emphasizing that the participants practice the Kau Inoa program (oli, kahiko, auana, `olelo, mele) above and beyond their respective Hula Halau training! Among the dancers are Sheri Turner (O`ahu), Shannon Malia Kaopuiki-Chabot (Lana`i), Neleh Chenoweth (Kaua`i), Carna Jesse (Marshall Islands), Wendy Jenkins (O`ahu), Jaime Tabandera (Hawai`i), Kaulana Hess (O`ahu), Ku`upio Dudoit (O`ahu), Julia, Josie and Kinipela Henderson (WA), Shelby Campbell (O`ahu), Brenda Schnoor (O`ahu), Keawe and Kaloku Holt (O`ahu)…….the alaka`i (leaders) of this Kau Inoa program are:
-------- Gina Mahiai-Hess (Kumu Hula of Hula Halau Mahiai) was born in Kailua , O`ahu but moved to Milwaukie , OR when she was young! Gina traces her Hawaiian heritage to the Moses and Kealohapa`ole Mahiai families, originally from the Big Island . Her Kumu Hula is Aunty Mapuana de Silva. Gina started her very popular Hula Halau Mahiai in the Milwaukie , OR area about three years ago and currently is the primary contact person in Portland , OR for the State of Hawai`i ’s Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA).
-------- Deva Leinani Aiko Yamashiro is a Moanalua Gardens , O`ahu gal (Farrington ’73). Her Kumu Hula is Victoria Holt Takamine. Deva moved toVancouver, WA in 1998 and has been very active in Hawaiian community activities there ever since. Her Hula Halau Kaleinani o ke Kukui has members from the Vancouver and Portland areas.
--------Have you ever wondered what a Hoku Hanohano award winner looks like up close and personal? The musician for this Kau Inoa event looks so Hawaiian, with his hair pulled back in a pony tail, his brown face framed by a wispy salt and pepper beard with gentle/smiling eyes. Walter A.C. Aipolani was born in Keaukaha on the Big Island, a descendant of three renowned Hawaiian families (Kanakaole; Jeremiah; Aipolani) but grew up in Waianae (HS class of ’73) on O`ahu. The Aipolani name may not ring a bell with a lot of you but let me call him “Bruddah Waltah”, Hawaiian Contemporary Recording Artist and all of a sudden you have, up close and personal, the 1991 Hoku Hanohano Award winner for best C.D. (Island Afternoon—Hawaiian Reggae)! There are many who consider “Bruddah Waltah” to be the father of the popular style of music that today is commonly called Hawaiian Reggae! One of his most best known songs, “Sweet Lady of Waiahole” is a standard among contemporary Hawaiian songs! Bruddah Waltah and his wife have been in Portland for two years and they like the financial stability but Bruddah Waltah is definitely one homesick tutu kane (grandpa) who misses his nine mo`opuna (grandchildren) back in Hawai`i!
Gina is the primary motivator of this particular Kau Inoa Program but states she couldn’t do it without the assistance of her partners Deva, Walter and Kumu Hula Lisa Chang of Portland . Mahalo to Gina Mahiai-Hess, Deva Yamashiro, Lisa Chang and Bruddah Waltah Aipolani for their generous contribution of time, talent and Aloha to their Hawaiian community.
Until next time……be kind to each other…me ke Aloha pumehana…………..Danny
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