In 2020, Hula Preservation Society celebrated our 20th anniversary. Leading up to the big year, we were excited to try and create a special commemorative t-shirt for the milestone. While all of our big, public celebrations were cancelled due to the pandemic, we told ourselves, “We have to do the tee!” And we did! The design honors our core connections to kūpuna, hula, and our inspirational founder, Auntie Nona Beamer. Reflecting back on the last 20 years, we felt strongly, “E mālama i ka hulu mākua,” from ʻŌlelo Noʻeau (wise saying) #601. In Hawaiʻi, hulu (feathers) were crafted into prized, valued adornments passed on from generation to generation. HPS cherishes those who have come before for their preserverance and passionate efforts to preserve and perpetuate for us today and for generations to come. And if you knew Auntie Nona, you’ll spock the pulelehua (butterfly) in the design, too! Go to the HPS Store to purchase your own. They’re still available!
Wow, 2020! What a year. It wasn’t exactly the 20th anniversary we had hoped for at HPS, but it was a strong reminder to count our blessings and be grateful for our kūpuna and their fortitude and dedication. The journey was inspired by Auntie Nona Beamer’s natural curiosity and zest for learning! She wanted to have conversations with fellow hula folks “of the age” like her (she was 76 when we started!), and we truly had no idea what the subsequent years would hold for HPS with our elders. The first official oral history was in December, 2000, in Waimea, Hawaiʻi Island, with Auntie Queenie Ventura Dowsett. Auntie Nona and Maile Loo had seen her speak at the Hawaii Theatre in conjunction with a screening of the 1941 Hollywood movie she appeared in, “Bird of Paradise.” Through her sharing about being with and learning from the one and only, ʻIolani Luahine, Auntie and Maile said to each other, “We need to go talk with her!” And so it began. Auntie Nona and Auntie Queenie had led separate lives in hula for many decades by that point, and this sitdown at Auntie Queenieʻs homestead was the first time theyʻd gotten together to talk-story. What a time it was. We stayed for two days! Hard to leave when you’re in full view of majestic Mauna Kea.