HILO, Hawaii – Wednesday was the official kick-off of the Hawaiian Invitational Arts & Crafts Fair, and things got off to an emotional start. With the recent passing of Kahu Minnie Kaawaloa, who for years led the fair in an opening pule, organizer Nelson Makua had something special planned for this year.
“She was a master lauhala weaver, a kahu, a cultural resource, and a dear friend to all of us,” said Makua to the gathered crowd. “Aunty Minnie and I always had a special relationship, I cant really describe it. But it was like we had known eachother many many years, maybe other lifetimes.”
Pi’ilani Ka’awaloa did the morning pule, taking the place of her departed grandmother. Then Makua’s daughter, Ha’a Aiona and the students of Nawahiokalaniopu’u sang a song written about Aunty Minnie.
Kanani Kahaunaele joined them on the civic auditorium stage, with a song she wrote inspired by Aunty Minnie.
The Hawaiian Invitational Arts & Crafts Fair runs until Saturday.
CREDIT: Video by David Corrigan, Voice of Stephanie Salazar