It was in 1969 when I moved to Maui from Waimanalo. My dad, who worked for Hawaiian Telephone Company, was transferred here. I'm the youngest of eight children and graduated from Baldwin High School. In 1974, I met my husband, Robert, and we have been married now for 38 years.
I have been in and out of hula since I was 5 years old. After I got married, I stopped dancing to raise our two children. Once my youngest child graduated from high school, I decided to return to hula at the age of 40. It started with an audition/hula workshop for Halau Hula O Ka Makani Wili Makaha O Kaua'ula under the direction of Na Kumu Uluwehi Guerrero and Keali'i Reichel. There were 50 to 60 individuals at this audition, which was quite intimidating. However, I persevered and was humbled and surprised when Kumu called and said that I had made it.
In my training as 'olapa hula, we were taught to be mindful of who you represent, and most importantly, to always be ha'aha'a, or humble.
Purchasing Assistant, Hale Makua Health Services
After 10 years, I decided to leave the halau to help take care of my grandchildren. When Kumu approached me and shared his vision to build a home for the halau--a place to call our own where we could gather and share our culture--I wanted to help. Now, as vice president of Halau Ke'alaokamaile's board of directors, I think of my Kumu as the ali'i and me, the warrior.
As his warrior, I'm working to help support his vision to perpetuate the Hawaiian tradition, culture and heritage through its arts, beliefs, dance and language. The first step is to build a cultural center that will provide value, purpose and benefit the community as a whole.
Three years ago, I attended a workshop put on by the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce. I felt connected to the people I met at the workshop and recommended that our halau join the organization as a corporate member.
Since joining, our membership has indeed been very beneficial. We have been able to share Kumu's vision for the cultural center with a much wider audience, and we made many valuable connections with people willing to help or who are very interested in seeing it come to life.
I am sincerely humbled to have been asked to assist in this effort, and very much appreciate the many opportunities that have been provided through our membership in the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce.