First hula competition at Merrie Monarch Festival, 1971.

Oahuans Dominate Festival Hula Dancing Competition

Three thousand persons watched for four and one-half hours Saturday night as some 360 of the best hula dancers in the Islands performed for the Merry Monarch.

The event, reminiscent of King Kalakaua’s 1883 hula-filled coronation, climaxed the five-day Merry Monarch Festival.

Aloha Wong of Kaneohe, Oahu won the title “Miss Hula Hawaii” at the glistening pageant.

Pauline Kekahuna’s troupe from Oahu won the best performing group honors out of 24 that competed. Mrs. Kekahuna also received the Iolani Perpetual Trophy from Iolani Luahine, considered the most expert of hula masters.

The Johnny Lum Ho troupe and the Ilima Hula Studio dancers, both of Hilo, were runners-up in the group competition.

Leinaala McDaro of Kaneohe and Evalani Andrade of Honolulu took second and third places among single dancers.

The Miss Hula Hawaii contest, which may be turned into an annual Merry Monarch event, is based on King Kalakaua’s summons to the Islands’ best hula dancers for his coronation.

Merry Monarch Coordinator George Naope told the audience that all dances, music and costumes came from the Kamehameha and Kalakaua periods.

The Merry Monarch extravaganza attracted huge turnouts to most of the scheduled pageants, parade, concerts and cultural exhibits as the week progressed and the weather became fairer.

A Grogge Shoppe reminiscent of the Kalakaua era featured live entertainment from Honolulu and the best in Island hula shows during the festival.

A hula pageant, “Their Oceanic Majesties, Rulers of Hawaii,” Sunday night depicted the reigns of all Hawaii’s kings and queens, closing out the five-day festival.


(Hawaii Tribune-Herald, 4/19/1971, p. 1)


Hawaii Tribune-Herald, 49th Year, Number 91, Page 1. April 19, 1971.



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