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Hawaiian community to honor trio

By Staff | May 7, 2009

KAHULUI — The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs’ Maui Council will host its fourth annual Celebration of the Holoku on Saturday, May 9, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Maui Beach Hotel’s Elleair Ballroom.

Themed “He Lani Ko Luna,” or “A Heaven Above,” the gala will honor three members for their lifetime achievements within the Hawaiian community and community-at-large while commemorating Hawaiian Civic Club founder Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana‘ole and the Hawaiian formal gown, the holoku.

Recipients of the council’s Kupa Maka‘ainana awards this year are Alaka‘i Paleka, Sarah Keahi and Adelaide Sylva.

Paleka has been burning up the radio waves for over two decades as “Maui’s Morning Goddess” on KPOA 93.5 FM. Beyond mixing the music, she has kept Maui entertained with her on-air shenanigans and quirkiness while keeping the public up-to-date with all the latest happenings.

Outside of radio programming, she has stayed equally busy with hosting various events for nonprofit organizations, in addition to organizing softball tournaments and chairing a Maui Relay for Life event.

Knowing a bit of ‘olelo Hawaii, Keahi is being recognized for the 35-plus years she served as a Hawaiian language instructor at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama.

Sylva, 94, continues her art of passing down the knowledge and skill of ku‘i i ka poi: pounding taro to prepare a Hawaiian staple, poi! She is renowned for her poi palaoa (poi combined with flour to stretch its yield) and poi ‘ulu, poi combined with breadfruit.

Sylva is the last known manaleo, or Native Hawaiian speaker, of Olowalu, where she raised her family.

The evening will feature a lavish dinner buffet, live Hawaiian music by the Kamehameha Schools Maui Hawaiian Ensemble and Jason Sadang and Friends, dancing, silent auction, Parade of Holoku and no-host bar.

The event is open to the public, and all are welcome. Cost to attend is $60 per person. Women are encouraged to wear holoku.

Tickets are available in advance through Hawaiian Civic Club members or by phone at (808) 283-2411.