For Immediate Release  
August 31, 2002 


La‘ie, HI:  Halau Hula ‘O Hokulani today won the Polynesian Cultural Center’s 12th Annual Moanikeala ‘Auana Keiki Hula Competition.  The halau’s kumu hula, Hokulani and Larry De Rego, were not able to attend the performance due to a prior commitment in Seattle, but that didn’t stop the halau from taking the top prize.

The De Rego’s daughter and alaka‘i hula or hula leader, Leinani De Rego, was there at the PCC to cheer her family’s halau and provide guidance.  “It’s just wonderful to be here,” said De Rego.  “The keiki have worked very hard and we’re so proud of them.  The expressions they used really demonstrated the theme of our medley, that one person can make a difference.”

The complete list of winners includes:

1st Place – Halau Hula O Hokulani (Kumu Hula Hokulani and Larry De Rego)

2nd Place – Halau Hula Olana (Kumu Hula Olana and Howard Ai)

3rd Place – Ka Pa Nani O Lilinoe (Kumu Hula Lilinoe Lindsey)

4th Place – Joan S. Lindsey Hula Studio (Kumu Hula Joan S. Lindsey)

Prize monies were $1,000 for first place, $600 for second place, $400 for third place, $100 for fourth place, and all participating halau received an additional $100 as a gift of recognition for their continued participation in the competition over the years.

In all, the four hula halau from O‘ahu showcased their talents of the modern Hawaiian dance form before a crowd of approximately 1,500 at the PCC’s Pacific Theater.

The keiki hula competition is an ongoing tribute to two prominent La‘ie kumu hula, Sally Wood Nalua‘i and Sunday Mariteragi, both of whom have contributed greatly to teaching hula in La‘ie.  Wood was the PCC’s first hula instructor when it opened in 1963 and continued until 1980 when she retired to serve as a consultant until she passed away last year.  Her niece, Mariteragi, is credited with inspiring the start of the competition. 

Once a PCC dancer herself, Mariteragi—at her aunt’s urging—began teaching keiki hula in 1981.  Two years later, she was invited to hold lessons at the PCC.  It proved to be a delight for visitors and led to the start of the competition.  Mariteragi’s keiki hula hälau, Napuananionapalionako‘olau, helped usher guests at today’s festival and watched as she danced alongside the participating halau’s kumu hula.

The keiki hula competition is a featured event of the PCC’s annual Na Ka Mahina Mälamalama Festival, which celebrates the culture and traditions of Hawai‘i. 

The daylong festival also included an array of handson entertainment and cultural activities at the PCC’s Hawai‘i Village including lei making, poi pounding, hula and more.

Founded in 1963 as a non–profit organization, the PCC has entertained more than 29 million visitors by preserving and portraying the spirit, culture and people of Polynesia to the rest of the world.  More important is the mission of the PCC, which supports the educational mission of Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i and provides an extension of the classroom in a workplace setting.  Since its establishment, the PCC has employed more than 12,000 BYU-Hawai‘i students.  As a non–profit organization, 100 percent of the PCC’s revenue is used for daily operations and to support the students who earn their tuition, room and board, and books.  The PCC also provides significant financial support to elementary and secondary schools and to college students attending institutions of their choice besides BYU-Hawai‘i.


For information on press releases or other public information, please contact:

Amy Hennessey
Polynesian Cultural Center Public Relations
(808) 531-0244


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