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Kula Haʻahaʻa haumāna from grades 4 and 5 performed "Kananaka" and "Kaʻa Ahi Kahului" at the 2016 Nā Mele o Maui competition. The group placed first in its division.

KSM a huge success at Nā Mele o Maui

Dec. 8, 2016

Contributed by Pakalani Bello

Kamehameha Schools promotes participation in cultural practices to cultivate a strong Native Hawaiian identity that instills confidence and resiliency in our learners.

Winning three divisions and the overall award, Kamehameha Schools Maui cleaned up at the 2016 Nā Mele o Maui competition at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Castle Theater.

Winning the overall award was KSM’s high school division, singing “Nā Wahi Henoheno,” led by Dale Nitta and Kalei Aarona-Lorenzo. The song was of special significance, as it was written by recent KSM graduate Lilia Lorenzo, and arranged by Nitta.

“Throughout their years here at Kamehameha Schools, our haumāna have so many opportunities to sing,” said Nitta. “We are fortunate at the high school that they have been so well prepared by our kumu in the lower divisions, both in mele and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.”

The middle school, led by Leimamo Nitta, won its division with a performance of “ʻOhuʻohu Kahakuloa,” while Dane Lum Ho and Clarke Tuitele led the fourth and fifth-grade keiki to a division victory with “Kaʻa Ahi Kahului.”

Three KSM students also placed in the art competition of Nā Mele o Maui. William Thompson won the grades 9 and 10 division, with fellow KSM student Kanoa Hokoana finishing second in the division. Kamauliola Kana finished fourth in the grades 11 and 12 division. All three were taught by KSM art teacher Angie Abe.

Established in 1972, and presented by the Kaʻanapali Beach Resort, Nā Mele o Maui, Maui’s only county-wide Hawaiian song and art competition, is dedicated to cultural preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian mele, language and arts. This year’s theme was “Aloha ʻIa No Maui,” or “For Love of Maui.”

SP2020 is a five-year strategic plan that will guide Kamehameha Schools from 2015 to 2020. The plan marks a starting point toward KS’ Vision 2040, which envisions success for all Native Hawaiian learners.

This aligns with Goal 3 of SP2020 as KS aims to cultivate a strong Native Hawaiian identity. It also aligns with Action 5 of Kamehameha Schools’ Ten Actions for fiscal year 2016-17, calling for the integration of cultural principles.

The KS Maui middle school won its division with a performance of "Ohuʻohu Kahakuloa."

KS Maui also did well in the art portion of the competition, with three students placing.

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