Maui arts festival focuses on positives of local life


POSTED: Sunday, March 22, 2009

As he read the dreary news reports over the past year, Clifford Naeole decided it would be apropos to inject some sunshine into the theme for the 17th annual Celebration of Arts, set for Easter weekend, April 10 to 12, at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui.





        » Place: The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, 1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Kapalua, Maui

» When: April 10-12; times vary


» Admission: Free, except where noted


» Call: 669-6200


» E-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


» Web site:


Kamaaina Celebration of the Arts Package includes run-of-house accommodations, daily breakfast buffet for two in the Terrace restaurant and complimentary valet parking. Daily resort fee of $20 will be waived. Cost is $225 per night; up to three people can stay in the room, but note breakfast for this package is for two. Call (800) 241-3333 to book; you must present valid Hawaii ID at check-in.




What came to his mind was “;He Aina o na Anuenue”;—“;Hawaii, Land of Rainbows.”;

“;Everyone seems to have the weight of the world upon their shoulders right now with the economic turmoil, wars and other concerns,”; said Naeole, the hotel's cultural adviser and chairman for the renowned arts and culture event.

“;I felt it was time to reflect on our blessings and find the bright lights among the doom and gloom. If we stop to think about it, we will find we are indeed fortunate.”;

As Naeole sees it, each vivid color of the rainbow could represent a blessing or positive thought or experience. “;We often fail to see the beauty around us due to stress, time constraints and being distracted by our many responsibilities,”; he said. “;We hope to remind people of all the good things in their lives at this year's Celebration of the Arts.”;

Attendees will be able to touch the heart and soul of Hawaii through films, workshops, lectures, photo exhibits, panel discussions, food, music and demonstrations and exhibits by esteemed artisans and cultural practitioners.

New this year will be the opportunity for them to complete the sentences “;Lucky we live Hawaii because ...”; for kamaaina and “;Lucky you live Hawaii because ...”; for visitors.

“;Anyone who wishes to participate can input their thoughts on computers that will be set up in the hallways near the ballrooms for easy access,”; Naeole said. “;They also can contribute ideas via a link on the Celebration of the Arts Web site. We hope to publish select entries and art created by children during the weekend in a book entitled 'Lucky We Live Hawaii!' It should be a wonderful collection of reflections from diverse points of view.”;

NAEOLE HAS once again organized a stellar program. Among the lecture topics are “;The Heart of Being Hawaiian”;; “;Aloha Mai Au I Kuu Aina (Aloha for the Beloved Land)”;; and “;Hookupu, Makana or Mahalo?”; (the many ways Hawaiians say thank you).

Also planned are a Hawaiian puppet performance, a luau and show, and a presentation of dramatic images by Maui photographer Shane Tegarden that recall life in old Hawaii with images of tapa beating, tattooing, kite flying, petroglyph carving, poi pounding and more.

“;Master storyteller Sam Kaai will share tales that complement Shane's spectacular photos,”; Naeole said. “;It will be a spiritual experience, a memorable journey back in time.”;

This year the event's Ke Kula Kamalii (Children's Learning Center) will work in conjunction with Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment program to help acquaint youngsters with nature through activities such as forest hikes; tide pool explorations; snorkeling excursions; and green craft projects using sticks, flowers, ti leaves, seed pods, coconut fronds and straws, metal and plastic bottle caps and other items found during beach cleanups.

“;It is imperative that we teach our keiki to respect and appreciate nature and the wisdom of our ancestors,”; said Naeole. “;By doing so, we can preserve and perpetuate the dignity and beauty of our islands. The future of Hawaii is in their hands.”;




Event Highlights

        April 10

        » 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Opening protocol

        » 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Demonstrations and exhibitions of contemporary and traditional Hawaiian art forms, including coconut frond weaving, feather art, Niihau shell leis, scrimshaw, weapons, drum carving and lei making. Repeats 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 11.

        » 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Children's program. Fee for some activities. Repeats 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 11.

        » 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: “;The Kuleana (Responsibility) of Aloha”;: Kumu hula Hokulani Holt evaluates traditional versus contemporary practices of aloha.

        » 1 to 1:45 p.m.: Author Sally Jo Keala O Anuenue Bowman speaks about “;The Heart of Being Hawaiian,”; her journey to find her cultural identity.

        » 2:15 to 3 p.m.: “;Honoapiilani”;: Kumu Kelii Taua investigates the place names and history of Maui's benevolent Chief Piilani.

        » 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.: In “;Hookupu, Makana or Mahalo?”; Lyons Kapiioho Naone describes how and why Hawaiians say “;thank you”; on so many levels.

        » 7 to 8:30 p.m.: “;Na Kii o ka Wa Kahiko (Ancient Pictures)”;: Modern technology and gifted storyteller Sam Kaai bring Shane Tegarden's stunning photos to life.

        » 9 p.m. to midnight: “;Celebration After Hours”; features Na Hoku Hanohano award winners Maunalua. Open to audience ages 21 and older.

April 11
        » 11 to 11:45 a.m.: “;Na Hoailona o na Anuenue”;: Kalei Nuuhiwa discusses how Hawaiians predicted war, success or failure of an endeavor and other happenings in rainbows.
        » 12:15 to 1 p.m.: Ramsay Taum reminds us of why we're “;Lucky We Live Hawaii!”;
        » 1:30 to 2:15 p.m.: Calvin Hoe and the students of Oahu's Hakipuu Learning Center Charter School present hula kii (Hawaiian puppetry).
        » 3 to 4 p.m.: Dr. Samuel Ohukaniohia Gon III and Iokepa Naeole discuss the concept of aina from the Hawaiian perspective, during “;Aloha Mai Au I Kuu Aina (Aloha for the Beloved Land).”;
        » 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Celebration luau and show features falsetto singer Kamakakehau Fernandez and Napua Greig (2008 Na Hoku Hanohano female vocalist of the year) and her Halau Hula Na Lei Kaumaka o Uka. Admission is $80 per adult and $40 per child ages 4 through 12.
        » 9 p.m. to midnight: Maunalua performs during “;Celebration After Hours.”;


April 12
        » 7:30 a.m.: Nondenominational Easter service.
        » 10:15 a.m.: Egg hunt for children up to age 12.
        » 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Easter Sunday Brunch is $80 per adult and $40 per child ages 4 through 12. Reservations required.




Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi is a Honolulu-based freelance writer whose travel features for the Star-Bulletin have won multiple Society of American Travel Writers awards.