Pa’u Parade honors history, culture and loved ones | News, Sport, Work

Haiku resident Leila Kalani Larson, Princess Kaua’i for the 2022 Pa’u Parade, sits atop her horse wearing a purple pa’u dress adorned with Kaua’i Island flowers, mokihana . – Photo courtesy of Leila Kalani Larson

Haiku resident Leila Kalani Larson will honor diverse traditions, people and values ​​as she rides today in the Pa’u Parade, an event in Hawaii that celebrates 150 years of history, culture and the legacy of King Kamehameha.

Adorned with purple colors and the flower of Mokihana Island, Larson will make his way through the historic city of Lahaina as Princess Kauai and as a symbol of the spirit of her late mother: Nancy Larson died of cancer in 2014.

“Every year I run in honor of my beautiful mother,” said Larson, who has represented the islands of Hawai’i, O’ahu and Maui in previous parades. “It’s that moment when you wrap yourself in the beautiful pa’u and ride a horse and run along Front Street which represents each island, seeing all the beautiful smiling faces of all the kupuna and keiki greeting back – this is priceless.”

Larson, 38, recalled how her mother would take her and her brother to the parade when they were children growing up in the town of Makawao.

“Since the beautiful pa’u knights rode their horses in the street, my mother always looked at me and said: ‘look at Leila, one day it will be you'” Larson said Tuesday.

Kula’s Tia Perdido Ampong prepares her during the virtual Pa’u Parade in 2021. This year she will personally walk Front Street in Lahaina as Princess Ni’ihau. – Photo courtesy of Tia Perdido Ampong

Now Zion’s mother, 14, who is helping with the preparations, Larson said the tradition of being a pa’u princess “it means so much to me.”

“It gives me great honor and pride to represent all the islands as a pa’u princess”, she said.

While picking flowers and making last-minute preparations on Wednesday, Pa’u Commissioner Moani Whittle Wagner said this is also a special year as the Pa’u Parade returns to West Maui after a two-year hiatus in between. to the COVID-19 pandemic: it was held practically last year at the Oskie Rice Arena.

“We are excited to be back on Front Street”, Wagner said, adding that she is honored to help celebrate Hawaiian culture forever. “There will be so much aloha.”

This year’s theme is “Long live King Kamehameha”, or long live King Kamehameha.

“As a horse owner, I appreciate all the hard work and dedication it takes to be a pa’u rider”, she said. “From traveling around the island picking flowers, to making all the horses and her of the body, to grooming our horses and training for the parade.”

Wearing white shells and pupu, Kula resident Tia Perdido Ampong, 37, will ride as the Princess of Ni’ihau.

“The memories made with my pa’u ohana and the knowledge and experience we get from the whole pa’u process, which includes preparing our horses parade, picking and collecting flowers and supplies for you and her. for the body, and making them together with our family and friends: a truly priceless experience “, Ampong said Tuesday. “The purpose of this event is to honor the memory of the Kamehameha lineage and represent your island with pride and Aloha.”

The Ni’ihau unit decided to use more earthy and natural colors, such as the ‘a’ali’i of the Upcountry, the leaves of Ampong’s aunt in Haiku, the wooden roses of the Hui No’eau and the palapalai of Laoa farms, Ampong said.

“I am also honored to wear a Ni’ihau shell necklace that was given to my stepfather by his friends in Ni’ihau”, said the graduate of the University of Hawaii Maui College. “It is truly an honor to be able to represent the island of Ni’ihau. It is known as the “Forbidden Island” and is an invitation-only destination where they are keeping their commitment to preserving its proud Hawaiian heritage.

“I’ve always been really interested in visiting the island to experience the uniqueness of the island and its people.”

For 43-year-old Rachel Emma Kahealani ‘Uweko’olani-DeCoite, who has traveled to all eight island units, learning more about each island over the years “it was very special for me and my ohana.”

This year it will be Princess Kaho’olawe, an island where she had the pleasure of spending time in the 90s for the hula.

“One year we traveled to Ni’ihau to get an idea of ​​the island and all its beauty”, he said Wednesday. “But doing Kaho’olawe with my sister Kalei ‘Uweko’olani means more to us than any other year as we dedicate our trip to our mother, Mrs Susie’ Uweko’olani, who died three years ago.

“It was a real inspiration to all of us,” she added. “But we know he’ll be riding Front Street with us.”

Although originally from Kahului, ‘Uweko’olani-DeCoite currently resides in Utah, so coming home to Maui for the weekend is what she is looking forward to the most, including “See everyone’s faces on Front Street” And “showing the love we all share for pa’u.”

To bring out more of Kaho’olawe’s gray-themed color and island flower hinahina, viewers will see ‘Uweko’olani-DeCoite wearing royal blue, as well as adorning clothes with a’ali’i, Spanish moss and hydrangea flowers, silver button, kakalaioa, laua’e and cymbidium orchid.

The 2022 Pa’u Court also includes Princess Desiree Ku’ulei Akimseu of the Hawai’i Islands, Princess Moloka’i Melanie Malia Pali-Kaneakua, Princess Maui Sofia Kaleimamo Salvatierra, Princess O’ahu Daphne Emmalani Lukela and Princess Lana’i Robin Lynn Baylosis.

Makawao residents Glenn Berce and wife Linda Uradomo-Berce have been chosen to be the 2022 Pa’u Grand Marshal and Pa’u Queen respectively.

Although there are certain criteria for becoming Grand Marshal and Queen, the candidates are also the ones who did “contributed to the success of the pa’u and Kamehameha day parade, rodeo and cattle on Maui”, Wagner said.

A skilled rider and cowboy, Berce is a lifetime member of the Maui Roping Club and has won several Hawaii state championships in reining, trimming, and cow horse work events.

He is also the president of the Maui Fair’s Livestock and Poultry Show for more than 35 years. He volunteers as a live auctioneer of livestock, fine dining, hotel and travel for local charity fundraisers.

Raised in Upcountry Maui, Uradomo-Berce has a passion for horses and Western riding and has participated in many Maui Horse Show Association shows, volunteered with the Maui Fair Livestock and Poultry exhibit, and represented the islands of Kaho’olawe, Lana ‘me and Ni’ihau in pa’u units over the years.

The couple’s daughter, Gabrielle Celestine Berce, will attend the parade as Miss Rodeo Hawaii in charge.

The parade will start at 9:45 am along Front Street from Kenui Street to Shaw Street. Front Street will be closed to vehicular traffic.

Meanwhile, ho’olaule’a will take place under the Lahaina Banyan Tree and will have free exhibits, keiki activities, a parade and presentation of pa’u awards, food stalls supporting community nonprofits, Maui artisans , music and hula.

The festivities are expected to last until 5:30 pm

Wagner said all the lei, pa’u and other crop foliage is used to decorate the ho’olaule’a stage, while the remaining pieces are given away to kupuna, families or dismantled and returned to the aina.

“We want to welcome everyone safely back to Lahaina for this event”, Event coordinator Daryl Fujiwara said in a press release. “Sacred Hearts celebrates 160 years and one of our partners, Lahaina Restoration Foundation, celebrates 50 years and the same festival in honor of King Kamehameha celebrates 150 years – so much to celebrate.”

* Dakota Grossman can be contacted at [email protected]

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