Hawaiian News: Behind the scenes of the Merrie Monarch Festival - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaiian News: Behind the scenes of the Merrie Monarch Festival

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Richard "Piggy" Kaleohano Richard "Piggy" Kaleohano
Kathy Kawelu Kathy Kawelu

HILO (HawaiiNewsNow) - All eyes were on the hula last week at the Merrie Monarch Festival. But it's the behind-the-scenes work that deserves some much-needed attention. Amy Kalili has more.

Kohu mea liʻiliʻi nô paha akâ, he koʻikoʻi nô a nui nâ mea kikoʻî e makaʻala ai.

This may seem like a trivial task, but an essential one at that.

We have a certain time to get everybody in and then out and it has to go smoothly. You cannot be like, where do I belong? No.

Richard "Piggy" Kaleohano

RK Audio

Pono e paʻa koke me ka ʻeleu.

Ke hele nei he 35 makahiki o ko ʻAnakala hana ʻana ma ka Mele Manaka.

Uncle Piggy has been working Merrie Monarch for over 35 years.

People think oh they just show up the night of the competition and (snap) the sound just works.

Kathy Kawelu

Organizing Committee, Merrie Monarch

Manaʻo paha he hua wale mai.

ʻO Kathy ke kaikamahine o ka hoʻolaukaʻi o ka Mele Manaka, ʻo ʻAnakç Luana Kawelu a ʻo ia ka moʻopuna na ke kekahi o ka pou paʻa o ka papahana, ʻo ʻAnakç Dottie Thonpson nô hoʻi.

Kathy is the daughter of current Merrie Monarch Festival coordinator Aunty Luana Kawelu, and granddaughter of its matriarch Aunty Dottie Thompson.

You know, thereʻs mom. She's trying to maintain all the details. That's what she says. There's a lot of details to keep track of and so we've got her leading it and I try to help out wherever I can.

(Kathy)

Nânâ ana ʻo Mâmâ i nâ ʻano mea kikoʻî like ʻole a kâkoʻo au e like me ka hiki.

Nui ke kôkua i ka ʻohana mai nâ Koa Puna na lâkou nâ kiaʻi a i nâ limahana kalana o Hawaiʻi no ka hoʻomaʻemaʻe.

The family gets a lot of help with security from Nâ Koa Puna, and with cleaning from Hawaiʻi County's very own laborers.

You know after every night of practice on the stage they go and they mop and they sweep, the garbage, the recycling, they clean the civic, they clean the stadium.

(Kathy)

Ma hope o kçlâ me kçia pô, pulumi, mâpa, kiloi ʻôpala, hoʻopôʻaiapuni a pçlâ.

ʻO ka makaʻala ʻana i nâ mea kikoʻî, wahi a ʻAnakala Luana, ʻo ia ka mea e hua pono mai ai ka Mele Manaka e like me ka mea e ʻike ʻia ma ke kîwî. A pono ka naʻau kôkua a kûpaʻa no kçlâ.

Paying attention to all the details, as Aunty Luana puts it, is what makes the Merrie Monarch you see on television happen. And that takes dedication.

I've been saying for almost twenty years that I want to retire but every time Merrie Monarch comes around you get this thing in the air so ok ill do it for one more year.

(piggy)

Noʻonoʻo ana au i ka hoʻomaha loa no 20 makahiki akâ, hei ʻia nô i kçlâ me kçia makahiki a mau nô au ma ʻaneʻi.

ʻO wau no kçia ʻo Amy Kalili no Sunrise ma Hawaii News Now. Aloha.