Keamoai-Strickland named 2021 Miss Aloha Hula in Merrie Monarch Festivalʻs return

Rosemary Kaʻimilei Keamoai-Strickland (2021 Miss Aloha Hula Kahiko). Photographer: Cody...
Rosemary Kaʻimilei Keamoai-Strickland (2021 Miss Aloha Hula Kahiko). Photographer: Cody Yamaguchi.(Cody Yamaguchi | Merrie Monarch Festival)
Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 9:57 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 1, 2021 at 10:26 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In one of the closest Miss Aloha Hula competitions ever recorded at the Merrie Monarch Festival, a dancer from Ka Lā ʻŌnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe won hulaʻs top individual award Thursday, edging out the first runner up by a single point.

Rosemary Kaʻimilei Keamoai-Strickland, under the direction of kumu hula Tracie & Keawe Lopes, was revealed as the competition’s winner during the first night of the festival’s television broadcast on K5.

The Miss Aloha Hula performances were filmed last week at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium in Hilo, but the participants were not notified in advance of the results before they were announced during the telecast.

WATCH: Rosemary Kaʻimilei Keamoai-Stricklandʻs Hula Kahiko

Keamoai-Strickland scored 1,114 points in the competition, just a single point more than the 1,113 awarded to first runner-up Ashley Lai of Hālau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniākea.

Makaʻala Kahikinaokalālani Victoria Perry, of Ke Kai O Kahiki, was named third runner-up, having scored 1,100 points. Perry was named the winner of the Hawaiian Language Award, which is presented annually by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Watch both of Rosemary Kaʻimilei Keamoai-Stricklandʻs Miss Aloha Hula performances below:

Hula Kahiko | “Hanohano ʻO Lehua”

This mele hula ʻōlapa commemorates Queen Kapiʻolani’s visit to Kauaʻi and Niʻihau to promote a campaign aimed at increasing the Hawaiian race or Hoʻoulu Lāhui. Established in 1874 by King Kalākaua and his queen Kapiʻolani, the Hoʻoulu Lāhui Society eventually founded a maternity home for expectant Hawaiian mothers. This home was the forerunner of the present day Kapiʻolani Medical Center which carries on the mission of the royal couple.

Hula ʻAuana | “Hanohano Hapuuhale”

Composed by Kumu Keawe Lopes, “Hanohano Hapuuhale” honors Mrs. Florence Kuupualeipoinaole Niau Nicholas, known to all of us as ʻAnakē Lolena. This mele inoa was gifted to her at the Rotary Club of West Honolulu’s David Malo Awards Ceremony. Aunty Lolena is a living treasure and an unwavering advocate for the revitalization of the Hawaiian language.

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