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2022 Dignitaries

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Hauʻoli Akaka

As our Master of Ceremonies nearly for the last 3 decades, Hauʻoli Akaka has shared his ʻike (knowledge) of hula, Hawaiian language and culture with audiences at the Iā ʻOe E Ka Lā Hula Competition. Hauʻoli is a Hawaiian language teacher who taught at Kailua High School on Oʻahu for many years and is now a cultural specialist at the Kamehameha Schools. He is also a former radio personality on KCCN Hawaiian Radio and serves as the Master of Ceremonies at a variety of hula competitions and other Hawaiian community events. He has also served as a kumu judge, musician or competitor at several hula competitions in Hawaiʻi and abroad over the years.

Kuʻulei Akaka

Kumu Kuʻulei Akaka from Kāneʻohe, Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu alongside her husband, Hauʻoli are Kumu Hula of Hālau Hiʻilaniwaialoha. She shares and teaches the hula traditions and legacies of their kumu with their haumāna, children and moʻopuna. Hula, mele, ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and nohona Hawaiʻi are the foundation of their ʻohana. Kumu Kuʻulei is a former kumu at several Hawaiian language immersion schools, Programs Coordinator Administrator and currently a Program Manager at a Hawaiian Language focused charter school. Ua ao Hawaiʻi ke ʻōlino nei mālamalama!

Ainsley K Halemanu

Ainsley K Halemanu is a Kumu Hula, Musician, ʻŌlelo Makuahine, Composer, and Mentor of Hawaiian Cultural & Arts. He serves as the ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi judge this year.

Leimomi Ho

Leimomi Ho is a Kumu Hula of Kealiʻika’apunihonua Keʻena  Aʻo Hula established in March 1984 to perpetuate the legacy and traditions of her Kumu, Victoria Kealiʻikaʻapunihonua Iʻi Rodrigue. Her hālau has won numerous awards at Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, Hula ʻOni E, Kauaʻi Mokihana Festival, King Kamehameha Hula Competition, Queen Liliʻuokalani Keiki Hula Competition and this, the Iā ʻOe E Ka Lā Hula Competition and Festival. Teaching Hawaiian chant and dance at Kapiʻolani Community College for 23 years, she continues to share her knowledge and manaʻo as a judge and also at numerous workshops throughout Hawaiʻi, the US Mainland and Japan. 

Kunewa Mook

Originally from Waimānalo, Oʻahu, Kunewa Mook began his career in hula more than 60 years ago as a student of his uncle, Sam Naeʻole. Together with his sister, the late Kumu Hula Paleka Leināʻala Mattos, they perpetuated their uncle's school, Hula Hālau o Kamuela based in Honolulu and formerly in Burbank, California. Together, their hālau have won countless accolades and coveted titles over many years competing in the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, the Queen Liliuokalani Keiki Hula Competition and this, the Iā ʻOe E Ka Lā Hula Competition.