About Keiki Hula
On September 11, 1976, the Kalihi-Pālama Culture & Arts Society, Inc. organized a festival to honor Hawai’i’s last reigning monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani. The day-long event was held at Aʻala Park and featured multi-ethnic dance performances, Hawaiian crafts, demonstrations, a pageant of Hawaiʻi’s mōʻī wāhine and the first keiki hula competition.
Kalihi-Pālama’s program coordinator, Kahu Wendell Silva, along with committee chairman and Kumu Hula legend, Uncle George Naʻope, envisioned a competition where children could share their achievements in hula while learning about Queen Lili’uokalani, her ‘ohana and Hawaiʻi’s historical past. Their mission was to create an organization to perpetuate Hawaiian culture through dance and by doing so teach a new generation to carry on the traditions of hula in to the future.
The competition was created for keiki who were 6 to 12 years of age in “hula ‘auana” only. (That first year only six groups entered the competition.) After two years, the competition moved indoors to the Farrington High School auditorium to provide the dancers with a better venue to showcase their talents. Over the next few years, the competition added the soloists and hula kahiko categories. Then a separate division for the keikikāne and the Hawaiian language critique were added.
Now entering it's 45th year, the Queen Liliʻuokalani Keiki Hula Competition has most recently been held annually at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in the month of July and is broadcast Live on KFVE and live streamed over the internet. Participating hālau come from across the Hawaiian Islands and Japan to compete for prestigious trophies and awards. The 2019 competition hosted 22 hālau with 28 Miss and Master competitors and 461 keiki who performed 82 kahiko and 'auana dances over the three-night competition.