It was a wonderful walk as I went from the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel where I was staying, to the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort where I went to enjoy one of the daily Merrie Monarch events and found a wonderful halau dancing and entertaining an enthusiastic crowd.
The halau was Hula Halau Ke ʻOlu Makani O Mauna Loa from Volcano under the direction of their Kumu Hula Meleana Maunel; her halau is located in the Volcano area of the Big Island with branches in San Francisco and Japan.
I asked her if she was excited about this year, being the Moʻi Wahine for Merrie Monarch. She said was not only excited, but humbled to be asked. I wondered how she felt when she was called. Meleana said with a big smile, “I actually found out because someone left me a message on my facebook page!”
Kumu Hula Maunel feels that her kuleana is to help gear up for the big 50th anniversary Merrie Monarch Festival celebration next year, and to help educate the people on the role of the Royal Court that presides over the Merrie Monarch Competition. “There are a lot of people that enter the Tennis Complex that donʻt understand why we are there. Some people at the end of competition run out at the end so they donʻt have to get stuck while we exit. Perhaps there should be protocol because if it was the REAL King and Queen (smiling), if you were to try to move, it would be off with your head!”
Maunel added that perhaps something like history and protocol could be written and handed out to those that are arriving in the Edith Kanakaʻole Multi-purpose Stadium and even at the front desk of the hotels so visitors could read before they get to the competition. “It might help so that people become maʻa about why the court is there, and what they should do; If it wasnʻt for our King Kalākaua, we might not have the Merrie Monarch Festival!”