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KS Hawai‘i Ho‘ike 2013 features the legend of Keaomelemele

Hear and see the mo‘olelo of Keaomelemele come to life at Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i Hō‘ike 2013. Entitled, E Ho’i I Ke Kumuwaena – Return to the Source, students will share this legend through a dramatic opera filled with oli, mele and hula on March 14th and 15th.

Written in 1884 by Moses Manu, Keaomelemele is a story rarely recounted or published. There are explanations about the gods, the priestly arts and the status of hula in those ancient days of the land. The story offers insights into the supernatural beings called ‘e‘epa and describes the origins of the reptilian mo‘o, both as deities and as beings who hold sway over the watery places and wet niches of the Hawaiian archipelago.

“One of the exciting, new things with this year’s drama is that it’s an opera,” said performing arts kumu Eric Stack. “I’m not sure if an opera in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i has ever been done, but thanks to our musical director, Herb Mahelona, our haumāna are going to break that ground.”

The granddaughter of Mo‘oinanea and second daughter of Olopana and Hina, Keomelemele is described by Manu as “the bold and magical girl of the rarified atmosphere, the one who flew here like a lightning strike in the east and whose brilliance ran to the edges of the earth, the one who tread the Pacific Ocean's billows, whose royal eyes are adorned by dark clouds and whose dwelling twirls night and day on the fringes of the wind, and who was a noble of those days of yore…"

This version of Keaomelemele first appeared in Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, the longest-running Hawaiian-language newspaper, as a serial column and running nearly every week from September 6, 1884 to June 27, 1885. It was translated into English by Hawaiian scholar and teacher Mary Kawena Pukui.

“Our students, faculty and staff of Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i High School return to a full high school Hō‘ike that will grace the gymnasium of Koai‘a once again with oli, mele, and hula…..with unity, pono, and aloha,” shares kula ki‘eki‘e po‘o kumu (high school principal) Lehua Veincent. “This year’s Hō‘ike presentation, E Ho’i I Ke Kumuwaena, will celebrate one of our legendary mo’olelo, will celebrate the duty of aloha and care of the high school, and will celebrate with pride the legacy and mission set forth by Ke Ali‘i Pauahi.”

Performances will take place at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6 p.m.) on March 14 and 15 in the Koai‘a gymnasium on the Kea‘au campus. A limited number of tickets will be available starting March 7th for a $5 donation, which goes to the KSH Nā Ho‘opaepae student aid fund to assist students and families with emergency needs for school and school programs. To reserve your tickets, please call Lisa Pana at (808) 982-0733.