Sunday, September 20, 2009

ONIPAA 18th Annual Luau

Last night we went to the luau put on by the Ka Pa Hula Kalama Halau. It was their 18th Annual Luau. ONIPAA stands for "The Organization of Native Islanders of the Pacific, Its Alliances and Affairs.

We went to this particular halau's luau last year. This years theme was "A Tribute to Hapa Haole Hula". According to the program, "the popularity of Hapa Haole songs were first brought to the Hollywood screens during the 1930's, 1940's and continued to flourish after WWII. The art form of the "real Hula" went underground, hidden for over 50 years, leaving the hapa haole songs to flourish. Hapa-Haole means songs primarily in English with a smathering of Hawaiian words included."

They started their program with the Kahiko dances (the ancient dances of Hawaii) which are chanted by the Kumuhula (dance instructor) versus singing the words of the mele (song) while the dancers interpret the song through their dance. These are the dances that I enjoy. They then did the Auana (modern dances of Hawaii) which the Kumuhula sings the songs. Some of these songs were written back in the '30's and there was one song that was written in 1916.

It is always fun to watch the little keikis (the children) and the guys do an awesome job too.

A traditional Hawaiian meal is served consisting of Kalua pork, chicken long rice, lomi lomi salmon, ahi poke, poi, sweet potato and haupia (a pudding made from coconut milk) for dessert.

For the most part, it was very enjoyable, however we had some people sitting across from us that were drinking heavily. We were late getting there and someone was sitting in my seat. All of the seats are reserved. The tickets are printed on color paper according to the price range and the seat numbers are written on each ticket. These particular people did not look at their tickets for their seat numbers and just sat where they saw empty seats. It was 3 couples and a guy by himself. In fact the guy that was sitting in my seat had a ticket for a different section. He was pretty much wasted.

This might have been the last year the Halau will do a luau fundraiser. The Kumuhula mentioned that in the previous 24 hours they had 175 people call for tickets. Usually the hall where this is held is packed. It was about 3/4ths full this year and the vendors were inside the hall instead of outside in the lobby area. I noticed that a lot of the merchandise being displayed and for sale was from China. The luau is held at an Elks Lodge in the Greenhaven area of Sacramento. The economy certainly affected the turnout this year for the luau.


  1. Well done post, Betty. Very informative. Sounds like a great event. It would be a shame if they stopped doing it.

  2. They will probably do it one more time. The Kumuhula celebrates her 75th birthday next year and she mentioned she wanted a party. The drunk guy sitting across from us knows the musicians and they were telling him it costs in the thousands of dollars to put the luau on. The rent for the facilities is pretty steep. Everything cost so much more. Alot of stuff comes from Hawaii for the luau. So it will be interesting to see what they do next year.