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Hau’oli Akaka

As our Master of Ceremonies for the last 26 years, 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 Hawaii and abroad over the years.

Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier

Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier is a dear friend to our founder ‘Ehulani Enoka Lum and her family. He has served as our Hawaiian language judge for more than 30 years. He is a professor of Hawaiian language at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa where he has taught for 33 years. Dr. Nogelmeier holds a PhD. in Anthropology.

Dr. Holoua Stender

Dr. Holoua Stender is an experienced and respected luna loiloi (judge) of this hula competition. He was a master teacher of Hawaiian culture, language and hula at the Kamehameha Schools-Kapālama campus. He is the immediate-past Po’o Kula, Headmaster of the Kamehameha Schools Hawai’i island campus and recently retired as the Executive Vice President of Education for the Kamehameha Schools. He completed his ‘uniki rites in Hālau Mōhala Lehua in 1979 under the direction of his kumu Keli’i Tau’a. He was the kumu of the award-winning hālau, Ka Pā Hula o Kamehameha. His other kumu hula included John Keola Lake, Kaha’i Topolinski and Darrell Lupenui. His students who perpetuate his hula traditions include Kumu Hula Kaleo Trinidad and Snowbird Bento.

Keali’i Reichel

Maui’s Keali‘i Reichel (Kanaka Maoli/Hawaiian) has been at the forefront in the revival and perpetuation of Hawaiian culture. He is a world class performer, best-selling recording artist, multiple award-winning kumu hula (hula teacher), prolific composer, renowned chanter, choreographer, dancer, crafter, scholar and teacher.


He has won the top overall honors several times at the esteemed Merrie Monarch Festival for performances in both ancient and contemporary hula. Over the span of his 25-year music career he has earned 36 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, has been nominated for two Grammys, and has been inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall Of Fame.


Keali‘i retains his initial goal of presenting new compositions in the Hawaiian language for hula students and works to dispel long-held stereotypes of Hawai‘i’s living culture and her indigenous people. He is currently touring the globe to raise funds to build a cultural resource center on the slopes of Haleakalā.

Kunewa Mook

Originally from Waimānalo, O’ahu, Kunewa Mook began his career in hula more than 60 years ago as a student of his uncle, Sam Nae’ole. Together with his sister, the late Kumu Hula Paleka Leinā’ala 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 ‘Oe E Ka Lā Competition .

Tracie Lopes

Tracie Ka‘ōnohilani Farias was raised in Kaimukī surrounded by the music of her mom, Karen Keawehawai‘i. She now resides in Pū‘ahu‘ula with her husband Dr. Keawe Lopes and shares music and hula with their three daughters Pi‘ikea, Ka‘ōnohi and Hāweo. She is a 1989 Kamehameha graduate and has a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s in Public Administration from UH Mānoa. She is an accomplished dancer blessed to have been awarded the titles of Miss Hula Pākahi, Miss E Ho‘i Mai I Ka Piko Hula and in 1994, Miss Aloha Hula at the Merrie Monarch Festival. She also received 1st   place chant awards at the Kamehameha Day Competition. In 2005, Tracie and Keawe founded their hālau Ka Lā ‘Ōnohi Mai O Ha‘eha‘e and continues the traditions of kumu O’Brian Eselu, Thaddius Wilson, Kimo Alama Keaulana, Johnette Keawehawai‘i, Mapuana Yasue and Flo Koanui. Tracie is currently the instructor of Hawaiian Language and Hula at Hawai‘i Pacific University and is Entertainment Director of the Paradise Cove lū‘au.

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