The Battle of Kuamoʻo comes to Kamuela

Just a week after the all-school performances of The Battle of Kuamoʻo, the traveling cast participated in the world premiere of the Symphonic Suite from the opera performed by the Kamuela Philahrmonic Orchestra. The sold-out performance took place at Kahilu Theater in a program that included works by opera composer Verdi and German composer Brahms. Mr. Mahelona conducted the Kuamoʻo suite and the students joined the orchestra on stage for the final moments of the suite, which corresponds to the final scenes of the opera. See photos and read the full review here.

The Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra is made up of community musicians from Hawaiʻi Island. They come together a few times a year to present public concerts of symphonic music. This was the orchestra’s first experience performing a Hawaii-based composition, and the first public performance

Hōʻike 2018: Kū I Ka Mana

UPDATE:  Kū I Ka Mana sold out the final performance!  Mahalo to all for your support.  Read Vanessa-Lee Millerʻs review of Kū I Ka Mana for Hitting the Stage.

Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi High School is excited to present Hōʻike 2018:  Kū I Ka Mana.  March 15 & 16 at Koaiʻa Gymnasium.  Shows will begin at 6pm.

Tickets are $5.  Available at the door or at the high school office or Student Activities Center after school 3-4pm beginning February 12.  During the week of the performances (March 12-16) tickets will also be sold at the box office at Koaiʻa Gym after school.  

Kū I Ka Mana is a fictional re-telling of the events leading up to the election of 1874, after the death of William Charles Lunalilo left the Kingdom of Hawaii without an appointed successor to the throne.  In the running are Queen Emma, beloved by the people, and the charismatic David Kalākaua.  Bernice Pauahi Bishop also considers being part of the election, having second thoughts about refusing the crown when offered to her by Lot (Kamehameha V).  The results of the election would have lasting repercussions on the Kingdom of Hawaii, setting the stage for many of the events that have shaped the modern 50th state of the United States.  The production will be presented in English and Hawaiian.

Click here for a complete synopsis of the opera.



Kū I Ka Mana will be presented as a rock opera with libretto by theater kumu Eric Stack and music by choir director Herb Mahelona.  Modern dance choreography by guest choreographer Jenn Eng will compliment hula choreographed by Kilohana Hirano, Piilani Kaawaloa, Hanakahi Perreira and Kalehua Simeona.  Also contributing are student choreographers Mara-Jayde Brown (’18), Kāʻeo Cachola (’18) and Alexia Iwamoto (’18).  Costumes are by science kumu Layne Richards with help from historic designer Iris Viacrusis.  Set and lighting design are also by Eric Stack.  A stage band prepared by band kumu Willie Harris will accompany the show.  The entire production is designed around a Steampunk theme.  Poʻo Kumu Lehua Veincent and Hope Poʻo Kumu Phil Aganus are producers.

Kamehameha Schools Hawaii High School presents their Hōʻike annually in the spring as an all-school event.  All high school students participate in the production as actors, dancers, musicians, or crew.  This year the production will also feature the KSH Elementary School Keiki Choir under the direction of Cynthia Debus, and the Mamalahoe Chapter of the Kamehameha Alumni Chorus under the direction of Herb Mahelona.

All Hōʻike productions focus on some aspect of Hawaiian history or culture presented to the public with the goal to educate our haumāna and to share with the community.  It is a unique opportunity to celebrate Hawaiian culture, history and language, and to instill pride and appreciation for things Hawaiian.

In a change from past years, the student body will be dressed in black, wearing the monograms of either Emma or Kalākaua.  T-shirts will also be on sale at the performances.

Kū I Ka Mana – Synopsis



The three young ali‘i (Pauahi, Emma and Kalākaua) play the string game hei when the ancient prophet Kapihe enters and cuts the string while  prophesying the eventual fall of the house of Kamehameha.

Scene One

Kapihe solicits help from the audience to come to the aid of the dying King, William Charles Lunalilo, who has yet to name an heir in “Attend the Majesty.  As the king stirs, he asks who the “shadows” are who surround his bed. He discovers these are loyal subjects waiting to hear his decision on an heir.   In “Shadows on the Wall” he dances with the potential candidates, considering their fitness to reign as the next monarch.  At song‘s end he cannot decide and returns to bed to dream.  In his sleep, he dreams of his ancestors giving him advice on what to do.  Leave It To the Gods,” advises him to choose two candidates, as his ancestors did before, and let destiny decide who is best to rule the kingdom.  But who will the two be?

First up is Bernice Pauahi.  Is she really best to rule?  She was offered the throne once by Lot Kapuāiwa (Kamehameha V) and she turned him down (again!).  In “No Can,” Keali‘i Pauahi considers if this was the best choice.  Was it selfish of her to refuse the crown and leave Lunalilo to suffer through a year of controversy?  At song’s end, the spark has been lit in Pauahi to run for queen.

Next there is Queen Emma to consider.  She is William Charles Lunalilo’s favorite, but does he really want to subject her to the travails of the monarchy?  In “Take A Tuck”, Emma is up to the fight.  She has just returned from horseback riding and is having a dress refitted for that night’s get together at the home of Charles Reed Bishop and Pauahi.  Her crosshairs are set on only one opponent and that is Colonel David Kalākaua.  She debates her qualifications over his, boasting about how much the people love her more; and that she won’t hesitate to go to the British for help in defeating him.

William Charles begins to drift off.  He dreams of a future where the Hawaiian culture has disappeared, absorbed into a global community (“Ka Nohona Starts to Fade”).  In his despair, he begins to consider his former opponent David Kalākaua.

Kū Kanaka” reveals a rally Kalākaua and his sister Lydia Kamaka‘eha are holding to help support the ailing King.  But is there an ulterior motive?  The song celebrates the enlightened return of the Hawaiian culture from the dark ages of Western assimilation, and revels in the wonders of Hawaiian self-empowerment.  To underscore this, Kamaka‘eha sings one of her hit songs (“Sanoe”) along with Lunalilo’s platinum single, “‘Alekoki.  At scene’s end the crowd is stirred to a frenzy and Kalākaua’s popularity has grown that much more.

Scene Two

To consider this swing in the electorate, Pauahi and Bishop discuss the Colonel’s growing popularity (“Game Changer”) at their small social.  Queen Emma adds her two-cents worth followed by Kamaka‘eha.  The lines are drawn.  It is the House of Kamehameha versus that of Kalākaua.  As the discussion concludes, Pauahi seems to be leaning towards running for the throne.  Bishop, Kamaka‘eha, and Queen Emma question her strength to be a strong leader.

Pauahi rebukes them by explaining all this talking will get them nowhere in “Hū Hewa.”  Emma agrees.  Pauahi starts to come into her own as she lays out her platform, which has to do with educating the future generations before the culture disappears.  Bishop argues that an election can be dirty and aspersions may be cast.  Pauahi argues back, but is finally silenced with the off-handed, unintended comment that one requirement of a monarch is an heir.

Princess Ruth Ke‘elikōlani steps in at this point to salve things over.  She has a new strategy that she borrowed from Aristophanes’ play, Lysistrata in “Ai Kapu.”  She rallies the women to empower themselves against the misogynistic patriarchy, who believe wahine are too weak to guide the very race they, themselves created.  In the end, the women chase the men to their cave and the women rally behind Pauahi.

The social concludes with Pauahi and Kamaka‘eha agreeing to disagree, yet remain forever sisters in “E Kamaka‘eha.”

Act one closes with William Charles Lunalilo waking from his dream.  He asks if any of the shadows have decided to come forward and dance with him and relieve him of his present burden.  In “No Ke Ano Ahiahi” his wish comes true.  But who will the gods choose to be the next Monarch?



The act begins again with Kapihe’s plea (“Come Elect Your Majesty”).  Except now, it is not to attend his majesty, but to come elect the next monarch.  He lays out the choices:  Emma, Kalākaua, or Pauahi.

Scene One

At his campaign headquarters, Kalākaua is distraught because Pauahi is ahead in the polls in “Whitebread.”  There seems to be no stopping her, especially with Emma supporting her.  His opportunist associate, Walter Murray Gibson “Kipikona,” suggests he attack Pauahi with a slanderous article in Gibson’s newspaper    Ka Nūhou Hawai‘i, questioning her pedigree.  Kalākaua hesitates at first, but agrees when he realizes the “end will justify the means.”

Scene Two

Pauahi is hosting a gathering at her place under the tamarind tree.  It is an all -wahine social (except for Charles Reed Bishop who is serving food and tending to the needs of the women) and they are creating campaign slogans and items for her election.  Queen Emma, in her way, is showing the other women how to play croquet.  Pauahi is uncomfortable with this because she feels it is too soon after the death of Lunalilo.  In “‘Ohi ‘Ohi Nā Liko Lehua,” Emma assures her that William would have approved because he was a “carpe diem” type of guy.  Pauahi remains uncomfortable because of the play and the materialistic nature of the campaign.  Ruth steps in and helps assuage Pauahi’s apprehension.  Pauahi agrees with reservations.

Enter the Colonel.  Nā wāhine are offended that he and his consorts have the temerity to enter their sanctuary.  Kalākaua, always the gentleman, greets them in his hospitable manner.  He is rebuked.  Finally he lays it on the line in “The Ebb And Flow Of Politico” handing Pauahi an ultimatum to drop out of the race or be exposed in the news.  Kipikona hands her a copy of the article and they exit, but not without a challenge from Queen Emma.  Reality strikes home with Pauahi.  The campaign will be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Bishop enters and is puzzled why the gathering has broken up.  Pauahi hands him the draft of Kipikona’s article.  She has decided to drop out of the race.  She realizes that running for the throne was not really her.  In “Oh, My Pauahi”, Bishop tries to cheer her up.  She avoids him because of her shame that he had tried to warn her all along that it wasn’t in her to run for the throne, and now she realizes the truth.  Bishop convinces her that she doesn’t need to be Queen to help her people.  He insists that a democracy takes good leadership chosen by an educated electorate.  With a new goal in mind, Pauahi is convinced and decides on a new course of action.

Scene Three

The final election scenario is set between Queen Emma and Colonel Kalākaua. The scene begins with a montage of voices giving their opinion for both candidates.  This cacophony culminates in 1874.  This weigh-in allows both candidates to face each other in a final debate before the legislature goes to make their decision.  Kapihe returns to conduct the balloting, calling off the names of all forty-five legislatures voting on the election of the new monarch.  As the role call commences, the gloves have fallen, and the two candidates duke it out in a rap battle, boasting about whose qualifications are superior.  As the voting concludes it has become obvious that Kalākaua is going to win and Kamaka‘eha leads his party in a victory song, “Ka Hae Kalaunu.

After the results are announced, 39 to 6 in Kalākaua’s favor, a protest begins, brought on by the supporters of Queen Emma, who feel the legislature really did not represent the true will of the maka‘āinana (“Bitter Waters”).  The protest turns ugly.  It devolves into a riot.  The riot reaches its climax.  Pauahi enters and asks “is this the way it’s done: civil minds to savage ones, by self-doubt our race overrun?”  Kalākaua’s supporters celebrate with a chorus of “Hawai’i Pono’ī” as the other ali’i ponder the future of Hawai’i.

The opera concludes with a final anthem, the words penned in 1843 at the resolution of the Paulet Affair and the restoration of Hawaiian sovereignty by Admiral Thomas.  The song is a declaration of love for the ali‘i and the aupuni, as Hawaiians look forward to the future with gratitude for all that came before (“E Mele Me Ka Ho’omaika’i”).

Sneak Peek: “Pray” from Once On This Island

Once on this Island rehearsals are well underway! With our troupe working as hard as they can to produce the best show possible, we are proud to present a sneak-peak into our show with a small portion of the number Pray! What happens when our protagonist TI Moune defies Death to save the boy she loves? Come see our show on November 16th, 17th, and 18th to find out!

KSH Students at From the Top


Dress rehearsal with host Christopher OʻRiley. Photo courtesy of KHPR

Wednesday, November 30, the traveling cast members of Hāʻupu were featured as part of the nationally syndicated radio show “From the Top” which was taped live at the William Charles Lunalilo Center on the KSH campus.  16 members of the cast were present along with four young instrumentalists from across the country.  The students performed excerpts from Hāʻupu.  Senior Daylan Kalaʻi and junior Leiana Clarke were also interviewed by host Christopher OʻRiley.  Mr. Mahelona was also interviewed, but his interview will only be heard on the From the Top podcast.

Selected students also participated in an Arts Leadership Outreach on Tuesday, and a follow-up seminar on Thursday.

From Hilo, the production team will travel to Honolulu to tape their final episode of 2016.

With an audience of more than 3 million, From the Top is America’s largest national platform dedicated to celebrating the stories, talents, and character of classically-trained young musicians. Their signature radio program, NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley, is the most popular weekly one-hour classical music program on public radio, heard by nearly half a million listeners on more than 200 stations nationwide.

The show featuring the KSH students will air on KHPR-1 (89.1 in East Hawaiʻi) on Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 10am.


Travel Update (8/4)

Cast members at the University of Edinburgh

After nearly a year of careful preparation, the 19 students and 7 adults in the travelling party bound for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe departed from Hilo on July 29.  Families, friends, and school administrators gathered to send their best wishes and support.  High school principal Lehua Veincent gave his heartfelt words of farewell and Kahu Brian Boshard gathered all present for a final prayer and blessing.

Excited and in good spirits, the students passed the time waiting for the flight with impromptu performances with the entertainers providing music in the airport lobby (among whom were KSH teacher Mr. Kaaa).  Students danced hula with the musicians and recently graduated senior Pono Brown took the mic to offer some of his own Hawaiian music, all in the spirit of sharing.

Students give an impromptu performance at Hilo airport

After thee flights (Hilo to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Chicago, Chicago to London), the KSH travellers arrived at London Heathrow Airport and presented their passports at the UK Border on July 31st The weather was cool and comfortable.

Highlights of London included a city tour (on the day of a major bicycle race – lots of road closures, but no traffic!), a West End show (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), an acting workshop at the Globe Theater, a visit to the British Museum, and a private showing of Hawaiian artifacts, and a visit to the Tate Modern art gallery.

Accommodations were at Bankside, a student housing complex on the banks of the Thames river.

On August 2nd the students and chaperones, along with all of the other schools who are participating in the American High School Theater Festival boarded travel coaches for the ten hour drive north to Edinburgh.  On bus #2 the KSH students were joined by students from Idaho (Eagle)and Maryknoll High School (Honolulu).  It wasn’t long before ukuleles were unpacked, many songs were sung by all, bags of li hing fruits and mochi crunch were circulated, and new friendships were made.  The school from Idaho is scheduled to attend a performance of Hāʻupu.  It was early evening when the busloads of weary but anxious students arrived at the University of Edinburgh.

August 3rd began with a walk through Edinburgh to the Royal Mile and theSpace Triplex where the students will be performing.  After an afternoon run-through of the show the students participated in a Scottish dance workshop.

Hōʻike & Opera at Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi

In 2004, with the school still in its infancy (the first high school class graduated in 2006), school leadership deliberated on whether or not to emulate the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama (on the island of Oʻahu) campus tradition of an annual Song Contest, where all high school grades levels compete in singing.

The decision was made to instead feature the Hawaiʻi Island students in a Hōʻike (presentation) that showcased the students working together, rather than competing against each other.

The first Hōʻike productions were staged as dramatic plays, interspersed with song and dance, each year featuring as a theme one of the seven island districts.

Teacher Celeste Volivar-Fry and student Laʻi Suganuma present a scene from the first Hōʻike in 2004.

Hula kāne from Hōʻike 2005

2007 Kolten_2821
Bronson Silva, Ola Tripp, Hulali Kaapana, and Eric Lau do a paniolo (cowboy) dance in Hōʻike 2007.

Liloa (Chris Andrews) learns his chiefly duties in Hōʻike 2008.

A spirited swing dance number from Hōʻike 2010

Students auditioned for roles as actors or dancers, and the entire student body participated as singers.  Even the teachers were part of the show, performing special hulas at the conclusion of the program.

In 2012, the Hoʻike included an opera-within-a-play, featuring senior Kaila Ishii-Manalo as “Kapakakapa Omaka,” a young opera singer in an alternate reality where Hawaii remained a sovereign nation.  The opera scene she performed was the death of Kona chief Kekuaokalani and his wife Manono, sung entirely in Hawaiian and accompanied by a small band backstage.  Kekuaokalani was killed in battle fighting to defend the traditional social order that had eroded after the death of King Kamehameha the Great.  In legendary fashion, his wife Manono took up his spear and fought in his place until her eventual death.  In the production, the opera in only incidental to the story and Kapapaka receives her flowers and accolades after her performance and departs after a brief visit with the main protagonists.

Manono (Kaila Ishii-Manalo) mourns the death of her husband/chief with an operatic aria in Hōʻike 2012.

This scene would become the inspiration to pursue Hawaiian opera as a medium for the 2013 Hōʻike based on the legend of Hawaiian goddess Keaomelemele and her family.  The justification being that opera represents a pinnacle of achievement in the arts as it incorporates all of the major performance disciplines at a high level.

With the entire student body serving as chorus, and the full force of the high school band playing for the entire duration of the show, Keaomelemele introduced a new art form to a delighted audience.  Traditional chant and dance woven into continuous music to tell the story of confidence regained in the face of betrayal and love lost.  Costumes designed by science teacher Layne Richards (with assistance from local fashion designer Manaola Yap), created a fanciful world of gods and demigods struggling with the vicissitudes of love and attraction.

The goddess Paliuli (Kaila Ishii-Manalo) rejects attempts by Kahanaiakeakua (Sam Bader) to reconcile after his betrayal (Hōʻike 2013).

In 2014, the death scene of Kekuaokalani and Manono from 2012 was expanded into a full-scale opera, The Battle of Kuamoʻo, depicting the last stand of  Kona chief against the forced abandonment of traditional Hawaiian social order.

In 2015, Kamehameha Schools Hawaii honored retiring English teacher Celeste Bolivar-Fry (pictured above in Hōʻike 2004) by presenting an original play authored by her.  E Paepae Hou ʻIa Ka Pōhaku was not an opera, but a moving tribute to those who fought to bring dignity to the Hawaiian culture after years of neglect.

After it was learned that the school had been chosen to participate in the 2016 American High School Theater Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, the decision was made to prepare another opera for Hōʻike and to take to the festival.

Kapepeʻekauila (Cyrus Johnasen) and Hina (Hoku McKeague) in the original dramatized version of the legend of Hina in 2011.

The story of the 2011 Hōʻike, about the legend of Hilo chiefs Hina and her sons Kana and Nihau was reimagined as a full scale opera, the longest yet attempted by the school.  Clocking in at nearly three hours, the epic tale included a large cast of singers and dancers, many of whom would go on to represent the school in Edinburgh.

The touring version would be only half as long, and the cast reduced to nineteen to meet festival staging and timing requirements.

With Hāʻupu, the third opera produced by the high school, Kamehameha Schools Hawaii has set a new standard and has established Hawaiian opera as a medium of choice for the students of the Hawaiʻi Island campus.

Synopsis of Hāʻupu

Synopsis with commentary by Kilohana Hirano and Kalehua Simeona, who contributed mele for this production.  Production photos are from the March 2016 all-school presentation of the opera.

Haupu Map
Map showing the locations of Hāʻupu on the island of Molokaʻi, and Hilo on the island of Hawaiʻi.

The northern coast of the island of Molokaʻi, near the location of the legendary cliff-fortress of Hāʻupu, alongside Pelekunu Valley.


Uli (Pomai Longakit) foretells the destruction of Hāʻupu

Uli sets the stage by recounting Kana’s genealogy (“ʻOaka Ka Lani”).  Her chant proclaims the sacredness of Kana and how she empowers him.

Like many in our mythological history, Kana was born ʻeʻepa – extraordinary and with miraculous powers. Claps of thunder, flashes of lightning, cracks and crashes of earth all heralding this auspicious being. From the loins of Hina, a progeny of Hākalanileo, raised at Hālauoloolo by Uli – ʻO Kana ke kaula, ke keiki, ka ʻeu kupuʻeu. “Kana, the rope, the child, the hero”  —  Kilohana Hirano

Uli ends the prologue by laying out the conflict between Hilo and Molokaʻi, the abduction of Hina by Molokaʻi chief Kapepeʻekauila and the dire consequences for all involved.


Scene One—Mokuola, Hilo

Moku Ola (also called “Coconut Island”) in Hilo Bay, now accessible via walkway.

Hina, a chiefess of Hilo and the wife of the ruling chief Hākalanileo, bathes in the moonlight assisted by her entourage of attendants (“A Hilo Au I Ka Pō Laʻi”).   

“A Hilo Au I Ka Pō Laʻi” was composed for the original Hōʻike in 2011 to capture a moment where Hina and her attendants enjoy an evening under the moonlight while surrounded by fragrant hala and kissed by the Kanilehua rain at Mokuola. Metaphors of romance can be found in the cool mauka breeze and the playful seaspray.  – Kalehua Simeona

Hina (Hiwa Brown) and her attendants (Sierra Gleason and Tiari Faagata) bathe in the moonlight at Moku Ola.

Here in the privacy of her attendants, she is able to confide her ennui (“Pulupē I Ke Au Kai”).

No sooner has she finished her lament than Kapepeʻekauila arrives to steal her away in a plot to ransom peace between Hilo and Molokaʻi.  Upon seeing Hina, Kapepeʻekauila cannot resist her beauty (“He Leo Kū I Ka Pō”).  The seeds of love are planted.  His brother, Keoloʻewa recognizes this change in his brother and reminds him that they are there to take her.  Kapepeʻekauila composes himself.  Despite resistance from her attendants, Hina is whisked away by the rogue chief.


Scene Two—Pi‘ihonua, Hilo.  A few days later.

Kana tries desperately to discover his missing mother’s whereabouts by using the powers he has been given by his grandmother and kahu, Uli.  Uli knows where her daughter Hina has been taken, but will not freely reveal her location lest she lose her prophetic powers.

Niheu, Kana’s brother, enters and attempts to convince his grandmother to reveal his mother’s location.  Uli refuses.  As with Kana, she recognizes freely giving the information to her grandsons will deprive them of a necessary life journey to maturity.

Hākalanileo, Hina’s husband, arrives along with his brother Haho.  Their purpose is to seek Uli’s help in finding Hina.  They honor Uli with a chant of homage (“Ka Wahine Noho Kuauli”) to flatter Uli so that she will disclose Hina’s whereabouts.

Deep in verdant forest, in the company of the most sacred. A mele inoa for Uli, mother of Hina; grandmother of Kana, a prophet deserving of only the highest kapu. E ō mai ka wahine noho kuauli, ʻO Uli ka makāula i ke kapu.  — Kilohana Hirano

Uli sees through it, though, and rebukes Hākalanileo’s methods of torturing people during the search, and for not heeding her prophecy that this tragedy would occur if he married Hina.  Hākalanileo and Haho assert that they are doing everything in their power to find Hina (“E Huʻe Ke Kūpeʻe”).  Uli dismisses them.  Insulted for the final time, Hākalanileo and his entourage leave.

Uli (Pomai Longakit) dissuades Kana (Kuuhiapo Jeong) from joining his brother Niheu (Kāʻeo Cachola) in the search for their abducted mother Hina.

In a final attempt to discover his mother’s whereabouts, Niheu attempts to convince his brother Kana (“Ua Pili I Ke Koko”) that they must set out on their own to find their mother.  Uli stops Kana from joining Niheu because she feels he is not ready for such a journey.


Scene Three—Hā‘upu, North Coast Molokai. Later the same day.

Kapepeʻekauila and his warriors return to Hāʻupu after their Hilo raid and celebrate their stolen treasures including Hina (“Kū ʻAʻe ʻO Hāʻupu”).  Nuʻakea, wife of Keoloʻewa, brother to Kapepeʻekauila, recognizes Hina and accompanies her to her quarters.

Scene Four—Hā‘upu, Moments later.

Hina is tired and confused.  Nuʻakea attempts to comfort her while Hina continues to express disquiet at her circumstances.  Hina recognizes Nuʻakea as an aliʻi, and learns that Nuʻakea is Keoloʻewa’s wife.  She then attempts to persuade Nuʻakea to ask Keoloʻewa to free her.  Nuʻakea lets Hina know that although Keoloʻewa is aliʻi nui of Molokaʻi, there is only one chief of Hāʻupu and that is Kapepeʻekauila.  Hina queries Nuʻakea as to why she left Oʻahu to lead a life of exile on Molokaʻi.  Nuʻakea replies that she did not believe in the new kapu system of Paʻao.  She would rather live as an exile in freedom than be bound to a restrictive system of privilege.  This resonates with Hina’s ennui.  This insight generates a vision of doom for Hāʻupu as expressed by Hina (“Pōhina”).  Nuʻakea concedes that her prophet brother, Moi, has seen a similar destiny.  Exhausted, Hina finally falls asleep where she is haunted by the prophecy of Moi as related in a hula kiʻi (“Moe ʻUhane”).  

Alone and determined, Kana expresses his undying love for his mother and promises that he will find her (“Kaula Kupuʻeu”).

Although discarded to the cane field at birth, Kana remains loyal to his mother Hina. As he toils with the decision to make chase to rescue her from her captors. He recalls her beauty – brilliant like the glow of the moon. The beauty of Hilo. Na wai e pakele aku…  — Kilohana Hirano



Scene One.  Kauhale of Hākalanileo. Hilo.  A week later.

As his search for Hina proves unsuccessful, Hākalanileo has invited chiefs from other districts and islands to help in his quest.  To celebrate a unified pact to find the missing chiefess, Hākalanileo gives a large feast.  For after-dinner entertainment, the party plays a game of kilu (“Kau Ka Haliʻa”).  

“Kau Ka Haliʻa” is an adaptation of a Mele Aloha found in the moʻolelo of Hiʻiakaikapoliopele. Love is celebrated in the lehua groves of Panaʻewa. Konikoni maʻeʻele lā i ke kino, “Loveʻs desires leave the body numb.” “– Kalehua Simeona

At the height of the festivities, Niheu enters, dismayed at his father’s capriciousness. He admonishes his father for not trying hard enough and reveals that he has discovered the whereabouts of his mother.  Through a round of kilu and with the help of Kana and his Shadows, it is revealed that Hina is being held captive at Hāʻupu, Molokaʻi by none other than the chief Kapepeʻekauila (“Naka Ka Papa O Kaiolohia”).  Hākalanileo doubts this, but Niheu vouches for its validity and calls him to action.  Hākalanileo hesitates while his brother, Haho, takes up the challenge: onward to Molokai and the rescue of Hina.


Scene Two.  Kuhaimoana, Hā‘upu.  Early evening the following day.

Keoloʻewa (Hansel Kaaumoana) listens as Kapepeʻekauila (Daylan-Blake Kalai) defends his decision to abduct Hina

Kapepeʻekauila and Keoloʻewa, go through a late afternoon regimen of exercise.  Keoloʻewa banters about his brother’s ulterior motives for kidnapping Hina.  Kapepeʻekauila assures his brother that his intentions are not selfish in nature, and that Hina’s kidnapping is to goad the chiefs of the other islands to act.  Through the discussion, it is revealed that Kapepeʻekauila’s true motivations lie in his responsibility to be true to his gods and live out his destiny to oppose the new system of kapu brought to the islands by Paʻao.  Keoloʻewa does not believe this and the conversation turns confrontational as the two brothers argue over the validity of such a destiny.  Keoloʻewa believes surrendering to the new system and surviving is better than dying.  Kapepeʻekauila does not agree.  Keoloʻewa redirects and queries his brother to see if his true intention is to have children with Hina, which could bridge the two belief systems.  Kapepeʻekauila tells his brother that after he defeats Hākalanileo, he plans to set Hina free so that she can return to her island and testify to the resolve of Hāʻupu, and that they live the way of their ancestors, unoppressed by the gods of a foreign land (“No Hāʻupukele Kāna Mele”).  The scene ends with a messenger reporting that Hina and Nuʻakea are touring Hāʻupu.  Kapepeʻekauila goes to join them.


Scene Three.  Hā‘upu.  Moments later.

As the sun sets, the residents of Hāʻupu celebrate the greatness of their land (“Aloha Hāʻupu”).  

“Aloha Hāʻupu” was also composed in 2011. The people of Kapepeʻekauila welcome Hina and celebrate the conquest of their aliʻi. A sweet whistle can be heard in the uplands as the people gather ashore in adoration and support.  – Kalehua Simeona

This celebration segues into a duet by Hina and Nu’akea recognizing the beauty of the sunset (“E Kau Mālie Ka Lā”).  The bond of motherhood is established between the two women.  This peaceful moment is disrupted by Kapepeʻekauila’s entrance.  Hina rebukes him for his actions and motivation.  He asks her if she does not see the peacefulness of a people living in communal harmony of their ancestors.   She scoffs at his hypocrisy, arguing that he has deprived her of such freedom. He assures her she has nothing to fear from him.  She continues to chide him, challenging her captor to prove his benevolence by setting her free.  Impressed by her resolve, he reveals his intention to use her as a witness of Hāʻupuʻs determination to remain independent forever (“No Hāʻupukele Kou Mele”).  The seeds of romance begin to sprout.

The Act ends with a report that Hākalanileo and the other island chiefs, have launched a vast armada bound for Hāʻupu.  The alarm is given to prepare for battle.  Hina predicts that the morning will bring a red tide.  Hāʻupu’s destiny is set, but who will set it right?


Scene One.  Battleground Hā‘upu. Dawn.  A few days later.

As Uli pays homage to the Kana’s great war canoe, Kaumaiʻeliʻeli (“Kaumaielieli Nā Waʻa O Kana”), the forces of Oʻahu and Maui engage Kapepeʻekauila’s forces.  Initially, the Hāʻupu forces begin to yield the field until Kapepeʻekauila rallies them on (“Lohe ʻia Ka Nākolokolo”).  The tide of battle shifts and Hāʻupu is victorious.

The warriors of Molokai prepare to engage the enemy forces of Oahu and Maui.

Scene Two.  Hā‘upu. Moments later.

From her vantage point, Hina witnesses the carnage of the battle.  The fact these warriors are dying in order to rescue her upsets her greatly.  Nuʻakea enters dressed in battle gear ready to defend Hina if any enemy should enter.  She tries to assuage Hina’s despair, but Hina is nonplussed and tries to end her life.  Nuʻakea stops her.  Nuʻakea admits she does not like the death of so many warrior sons.  Appealing to her motherly instinct, Nuʻakea attempts to persuade Hina to contact her son Kana and end the onslaught.  Hina admits she receives dreams from Kana, but cannot contact him directly.  Consequently, the two women plot Hina’s escape before the Hilo forces attack.  Nuʻakea promises that when the Hilo forces arrive the following day, she will help Hina escape to safety with her sons.

Scene Three.  Aboard the Kaumai‘eli‘eli.  Dawn.

As Hākalanileo and his entourage sleep, Kapepeʻekauila’s agent, Keaʻulenakahi, (the “swordfish”), boards the vessel to assassinate the chief (“Ke Ola Kapu”).  

As Kana and Niheu prepare for the arduous journey to Hāʻupu, Uli foretells of the dangers ahead. The rough seas of the ʻAlenuihāhā Channel, the joining of forces, and the ensuing battle with the assassin Keaʻuleinakahi.  — Kilohana Hirano

Keaʻulenakahi is subdued and escapes before she can complete her task.

Nihau (Kāʻeo Cachola) is no match for Keaʻuleinakahi (Alya-Joy Kanehailua) Kapepeʻekauilaʻs warrior-assassin.

Nursing a flesh wound, Hākalanileo decides to turn back.  He fears that Kapepeʻekauila’s rogue methods and lack of respect for the kapu make him unstoppable.  Niheu accuses his father of cowardice and lacking true love for his mother.  Hākalanileo takes offense, but does not deny that he is unwilling to risk death for Hina.  He believes Hina has been tainted by the Molokaʻi chief, thus she is not worth saving.  Niheu and Kana decide to break with their father and continue with whatever force is willing to go with them.  Haho volunteers to continue on with Niheu and Kana, promising Hākalanileo that his victory will be all of Hilo’s victory.

Scene Four.  Aboard the Kaumai‘eli‘eli.  Dawn.  Moments later.

Kana calls for a covering of fog to conceal the Hilo forces’ advance (“Noenoe Wale Iō Kaumai’eli’eli”).  

Nearing his destination on the northern shore of Molokaʻi, Kana makes ready for their approach and calls upon the elements to provide cover over his canoe – Kaumaiʻeliʻeli. Dark clouds roll in with the ʻŪkiu wind, cloaking Kaumaiʻeliʻeli.   — Kilohana Hirano

Hina senses the fog is from her son and answers with a reprise of “Kaula Kupuʻeu”.  Kapepeʻekauila enters, overhearing Hina’s plea to her son for her rescue.

Kana (Kuuhiapo Jeong) summons a fog to mask their surprise attack on Hāʻupu.

Kapepeʻekauila rejoices over the fog, believing it will stymie the advance of the Hilo forces and allow his warriors to rest.  Hina reproves him for his hubris and threatens to ruin his plan by refusing to be rescued.  This prospect upsets Kapepeʻekauila and he threatens to send her back with the bones of her sons.  She echoes Kapepeʻekauila’s comment that she is a prisoner of her beauty.  Hina finds temporary comfort in his arms until a messenger arrives announcing an assault by the Hilo forces.  Kapepeʻekauila realizes his pride has led to his undoing.  Upon his exit Hina secretly prays for his safety.

Scene Five.  Ridge at Manuahi.  Hā‘upu.  Early Morning.

While being pursued by a force of Hāʻupu warriors, a small detachment of Hilo warriors including Niheu and Haho race toward Hāʻupu.  Haho pauses to confer with Niheu.  He is worried that they are being chased into a trap.  He suggests one warrior continue up to rescue Hina while the others make a stand at the present spot.  Niheu agrees and offers to be the lone warrior to rescue his mother.  Haho offers to take his place because he feels Niheu can rally the warriors to make a successful stand.  Niheu agrees. Haho continues on up the ridge to rescue Hina on his own.

Niheu and the warriors dig-in.  Kapepeʻekauila arrives with his warriors and takes the field.  Niheu falls and is about to be sacrificed when Kapepeʻekauila stops Keoloʻewa.  Moi realizes circumstances may have changed between Kapepeʻekauila and Hina.  Keoloʻewa notices that Haho is not present.  Once more Kapepeʻekauila realizes his oversight and races up the hill to Hāʻupu.

Scene Six.  Hā‘upu.  Moments Later.

Hina (Hiwa Brown) and Kapepeʻekauila (Daylan-Blake Kalai) prepare to face the onslaught of Hilo warriors.

Haho enters Hina’s sanctuary.  At first Hina believes it is Nuʻakea there to take her to her sons.  Haho lets her know that she is now his, because of a deal he has made with her husband Hākalanileo and that her sons are dead.  Hina resists him.  Kapepeʻekauila enters and kills him.  Kana enters and engages Kapepeʻekauila.  Kana subdues Kapepeʻekaulia, but Hina stops Kana from killing him.


Moi and Keoloʻewa enter with what is left of the Hāʻupu warriors and Niheu.  Moi reports his prophecy has come to pass:  Hāʻupu is vanquished.   Hina offers to negotiate peace with the Hilo, Maui, and Oʻahu warriors.  Kapepeʻekauila refuses her offer.  He knows he must not betray his gods.  He must fulfill his destiny.  Hina exits with her sons taking one last look at her vanquished captor.