George Na`ope Hula Festival Weekend
Uncle George Lanakilakeikiahiali`i Na`ope
George Luis Lanakilakeikiahiali`i Na`ope died in his home, October 26, 2009
A man who will be missed dearly by everyone who knew him
February 25, 1928 - October 26, 2009
George Lanakilakeikiahiali`i Na`ope, is a world renowned Kumu Hula, Hula Master, Lo`ea, and probably one of the worlds most knowledgeable people on the history of Hawaiian chanting and hula. At the age of three, he began his studies under the tutelage of his great grandmother, Mary Malia Pukaokalani Na`ope, who lived to be over 100 years old. By her account, their lineage goes back to Pa`ao, well known cornerstone figure in Hawaiian history. At the age of ten, he studied further under Kumu Hula Joseph Ilala`ole for ten years. After high school, Uncle George moved to Honolulu where he opened the George Na`ope Hula School, then later continued his studies under Kumu Hula Lokalia Montgomery and Tom Hiona.
"Living Golden Treasure" and "Treasure of Hawai`i" Uncle George's lifelong commitment to perpetuating the Hawaiian culture through the sharing of his vast knowledge of Hawaiian chants, language, and hula has been recognized by both the Governor and State Legislature of Hawai`i, and the President of the United States. He was honored with the "Living Golden Treasure" designation by the Governor and State Legislation of Hawai`i in 1960, and named in the Smithsonian Institute as a "Treasure of Hawai`i" by President George Bush, Sr.
The myth, the legend, and the man (written by Keawe) Uncle George is continuously bridging the gap with Hawai`i’s hula and culture. Just as with Hawai`i’s last King, David La`amea Kalākaua, the “Merrie Monarch” many years ago, it has been through Uncle George’s efforts that hula was revived for the Hawaiian people and through his legacy hula continues around the world. Starting with the “Olympics of Hula” – the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, Uncle George has helped to organize many groups and organizations around the world. He has taught hula in many countries such as "Japan, Canada, throughout Europe, the Orient, South Pacific islands and the United States". As the gap closes, “Hawai`i’s Golden Treasure” has been the Ambassador of hula promoting our culture and making all societies feel Hawaiian at heart. Uncle George represented United States at the royal wedding of Japan’s Emperor Akahito, son of Hirohito. Representing Hawai`i, he welcomed President Franklin D. Roosevelt at Hawai`i’s Volcano House and President John F. Kennedy in Honolulu.
Uncle George is diligent in his quest to keep the hula alive in Hawai`i and around the world also by serving with the Hula Preservation Society of Hawai`i.
It is my honor and pleasure to have Uncle George offer his support, his friendship, his blessings and his name in presenting the George Na`ope Kāne Hula Festival and George Na`ope Keiki Hula Competition in his honor. To a man that is ever giving of his knowledge, time and support, without him, this festival would not be possible.
Rick Makanaaloha Kia`imeaokekanaka San Nicolas