HONOLULU (KHNL) - The City and County of Honolulu has a new Lei Day Queen for 2007. She is Daveanne Manu Anana, who turns 50 this month. Anana was the oldest contestant in this pageant, which featured the Na Makuahine age group (31~54 years old), but was clearly an audience favorite among the 300 attendees. She has two children - a daughter who is a sophomore at Punahou School, and a son in the 3rd grade at Kamehameha School.
Anana works for the Department of Education as a pre-school coordinator for the Leeward district. She is a Kamehameha School graduate, and received her Bachelors Degree in Early Education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and her Masters Degree in Special Education from San Francisco State University. (Interesting tidbit: This year's field of contestants all had at least their Bachelors Degrees - and four of them hold Masters Degrees!)
She was formerly a student of Kumu Hula Maiki Aiu, and currently dances with Kumu Hula Keith Awai, Halau Hula Ka Wai Kuilani. Anana is an avid soccer player and resides in Haleiwa. First Lei Princess is Sheila Lehuanani Kaho'okele. The remaining five finalists were all so impressive, as well, that they were all named Lei Princesses, to complete the 2007 Lei Day Court.
The all-day pageant judged each of the seven finalists on lei making, hula, language skills and poise, and her ability to convey the spirit of aloha with warmth and dignity. This year's Lei Day theme is "Na Lei Kukui" or The Kukui Lei. The Court are will now go through training to properly fulfill their duties for 2007.
The main event is, of course, the 80th Annual Lei Day Celebration on Tuesday, May 1st, at Kapi'olani Park (9 a.m.~6 p.m.), featuring music, hula, lei contests, and a craft fair (free admission to all events). The Lei Queen and Court will also offer lei at ceremonies at Mauna'ala (the Royal Mausoleum) and Kawaiaha'o Church on May 2nd. They will make other appearances by request upon availability.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann and the City are grateful for the generous sponsors for making this public-private partnership work for the community. "We are so grateful to HECO, HTA, and ResortQuest Hawai'i for coming forward to make this year's Lei Day a success," said Ka'iulani Vincent, DPR Culture and Arts Coordinator. "Due to their generosity, we have been able to expand Lei Day events and reach out to more kama'aina and visitors of all ages to get involved, participate, and attend the events!"
"As a local company that has served our islands for more than a century, we are proud to help continue the local tradition and legacy of Hawaiian culture that Lei Day represents," said Mike May, president & CEO of HECO. "We are honored to join the City & County in helping to keep the lei tradition alive."
The first Lei Day was in 1927 and celebrated in downtown Honolulu with a few people wearing lei. From that it grew and more and more people began to wear lei on May 1st. We are told that the first celebration and exhibit of lei was at the Bank of Hawai'i. In 1928, the first Lei Queen was Nina Bowman, and she was crowned by Mayor Charles Arnold. After a few years, Lei Day was held at City Hall with a lei exhibit and pageant. With growing popularity, the celebration soon outgrew City Hall, so it then became the responsibility of the City's Department of Parks and Recreation. The celebration was moved to Kapi'olani Park, where it continues to this day.