Kehaulani Enos

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Kehaulani Enos, of Halau Mohala Ilima, performs her
winning hula: "I felt like Iwas having a lot of fun."

Miss Aloha Hula

Her rollicking hula had the audience
clapping along

By Catherine Kekoa Enomoto

HILO -- A 24-year-old substitute teacher educated the audience about the joys of Huelo, Maui, in a rousing dance that catapulted her to the coveted Miss Aloha Hula title last night.

Kehaulani Enos, representing Halau Mohala 'Ilima, of Kailua, Oahu, scored 1,040 points to win the prestigious title during the 34th annual Merrie Monarch Festival's solo competition at Edith Kanaka'ole Tennis Stadium.

Enos also tied for the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs' Hawaiian language award, which she shared with the competition's first runner-up, Kealohapau'ole Ho'omana, who scored 1,021 points representing Keolalaulani Halau 'Olapa O Laka, of Kaneohe.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Kehaulani Enos, left, and her kumu hula, Mapuana de Silva,
are all smiles after Enos won the Miss Aloha Hula title last night.

Second runner-up was Malia Hi'iakaikawenaokeao Stender, 1,005 points, of Ka Pa Hula O Kauanoe O Wa'ahila, of Honolulu; followed by Erin Malia Williams, 940 points, of Halau Hula O Kahikilaulani, of Hilo; and Kami Kamakahukilani Goeas, 931 points, of Halau Hula Olana, of Pearl City.

Enos chanted and danced a charming hula kahiko (traditional) about the 'o'o bird of Kauai; the name chant honors Queen Emma. But it was Enos' swirling, rollicking hula 'auana (modern) about a verdant Valley Isle community on the way to Hana that made audience members clap along.

"I felt like I was having a lot of fun," said Enos, who wore a full ti leaf skirt made of Huelo greenery, with a pink underskirt reflecting the lokelani (rose), the flower of Maui.

"I just pictured Huelo and the people that live there. The people that we met, Moke and Pua Kahiamoe, opened their hearts and they just showed us all their love when we went to visit. And that's all I needed, that's who I was dancing for."

Her kumu hula, Mapuana de Silva, said the halau visited Huelo and the Kahiamoe family during spring break.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
On stage, left to right, Mahealani Chang, Kehaulani Enos,
kumu hula Mapuana de Silva and Kahulu Kaiama chant after
Kehaulani Enos finished her Kahiko portion of the competition.
Enos later won the Miss Aloha Hula title.

"They lived there for generations. They have a piece (of land) from the mountain down to the sea, and when Kehau danced she was dancing in ti leaves from Huelo, that Moke picked especially for her," de Silva said. "One day we met him and the next day he had the ti leaves for her; so we danced for all these people who help us understand the mele (songs) and to enjoy them as they were written."

Enos holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Hawaii-Manoa and is a 1991 graduate of the Kamehameha Schools. She is the first from her halau to win the Miss Aloha Hula title.

"What makes me happy is that not just the judges, but the audience enjoyed what we presented, and that's the winning trophy for us," de Silva said.

The Merrie Monarch Festival continues today with group competition in hula kahiko at 6 p.m., and winds up tomorrow with group competition in hula 'auana at 5:30 p.m. Both nights are sold out, but KITV-4 televises the contests live.

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