Moanalua Gardens Foundation
Cultural and Environmental Education in Hawaii
1352 Pineapple Place, Honolulu, Hawaii 96819-1754
Phone: (808) 839-5334; Fax (808) 839-3658


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Prince Lot Hula Festival
Historical Background

Olelo Mai Na Kupuna Mai… The Legacy Lives On

Over the past 30 years MGF has grown, expanded and contributed a tremendous legacy of all things Hawaiian to the Hawaiian community and those who are Hawaiian at heart. The community has Nalani Olds, the Festival founder who has inspired the growth and development of the Festival in its unique location in Moanalua. In 1977 Nalani envisioned the Moanalua Gardens area as a venue for expressing Hawaiian culture through hula. After sharing this with her husband, Allen Napoleon, then Secretary to the Damon Estate Trustees, the two set out to make it a reality. Nalani took her vision to Anna Derby Blackwell, the first MGF Executive Director. Allen shared their dream with the Trustees of the Damon Estate. Recognizing that she would need a dedicated and committed assistant, she sought out her cousin Wendell Silva who contributed his own manao (knowledge) to the plan.

Stemming from an ohana (family) that was well established in the ahupuaa (district) of Moanalua, Nalani was well versed in its history. She knew that Prince Lot Kapuaiwa, who reigned as King Kamehameha V, had a summer home in the area. Here he entertained his guests at dinner parties with the tradition of hula. Because of his support of hula, Nalani chose to name the Festival in his honor. At early Festivals the dancers performed on a stage setup in the Gardens. Having been raised by kupuna (elders) in Moanalua, Nalani was aware that at one time hula mounds were prevalent in the area. This was the inspiration for creating the Prince Lot Hula mound, Kamaipuupaa.

Over the years, the PLHF has developed into a phenomenal Hawaiian statement, defining our traditions, culture and language. It has provided opportunities for new halau (hula school) and experienced halau to share their style of hula with the community. Each Executive Director of the Moanalua Gardens Foundation has worked with Nalani Olds and Wendell Silva to ensure the integrity of the Festival as it was conceived. MGF staff developed the Partners in Education Program to expand the understanding of all aspects of the cultural history of Hawaii while while encouraging malama aina (caring for the land).

Mahealani Merryman, Executive Director
Nalani Olds, PLHF Committee Chair
Paulie Jennings, Former Executive Director
Anna Blackwell, Former Executive Director

The Prince Lot Hula Festival has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts for excellence, and received the "Keep it Hawaii" Kahili Award from the Hawaii Visitor's and Convention Bureau in 1990 and 1999.

If you have enjoyed the hula festival, and support the programs of Moanalua Gardens Foundation, please become a MEMBER. MGF needs your kokua (help) in fostering awareness of our unique culture and environment in Hawaii. Together we can make a difference!

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revised 6 July 2007
Hawaiian diacriticals have been intentionally omitted.