A gorgeous 47 strand pikake lei for May Day

Aloha all. My blog has been virtually extinct for a couple years due some various time consuming things occurring in my life.  I hope to share and get everyone up to speed in the very near future, so stay tuned!  My blog was actually offline since 2014 and while I was editing a recent photo shoot, I felt compelled to blow the dust off and get my blog back online to share this amazing story.  In actuality, I think it will be good to reconnect with the world as I start to share on my blog again.

I had the privilege of photographing Island Pacific Academyʻs 9th Annual May Day Celebration on Friday 4/29/16.  The theme was Nā Hulu Kūpuna (cherish our elders) and the school celebrated with a full Royal Court and this yearʻs May Day King & Queen were absolutely stunning.  Upon looking at May Day Queen Kasey Nunies through my lens, I thought she was wearing a Niʻihau shell lei. Upon zooming in, I recognized she was actually draped in fresh pikake. (My absolute favorite flower lei). Come to find out there was a story behind the amazing 47 strand pikake lei that beautifully hung around her neck as she graciously lead the court by dancing hula to Pua Ahihi.  47 years ago, her grandmother was crowned May Day Queen and just so happened to dance the same song as Kasey did. The 47 strands represented the years that lapsed since Kaseyʻs grandmother walked her Royal Court as May Day Lei Queen. When I heard that story, I felt compelled to get the blog back online and post a handful of my favorite images of the event.

As a Native Hawaiian, I am extremely proud of my heritage and all that encompasses our beautiful Hawaiian culture.  Seeing that pikake lei was breathtaking and I felt the need to share with the world. You can read more on IPAʻs website by clicking HERE.


keiki may dayPINIMAGE

Elementary Students happily walk down to present the Hoʻokupu to the Royal Court 20160429-19PINIMAGE

King and Queen Attendants happily receive the hoʻokupu presented on stage.

may day moi wahine kanePINIMAGEThe May Day King and Queen Kasey Nunies and Andrew Labaczewski proudly walk down the aisle as the celebration begins. may day king queenPINIMAGE

Mōʻī Wahine and Mōʻī Kāne made a spectacular entrance with their floral leis for the May Day Celebration.


kasey nunies may day queenPINIMAGE

Kasey dancing to Pua Ahihi, the same song her grandmother danced to 47 years ago when she was also May Day Lei Queen kasey-nunies-hulaPINIMAGE

The beautiful pikake strands delicately swayed as Kasey danced for the crowd.

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King Andrew Labaczewski watches as Kasey Nunies leads the wahine in hula. kupuna looks onPINIMAGE

Kaseyʻs mother and grandmother proudly watch her alongside many of the other Kūpuna in the audience. may day lei queen pikakePINIMAGE. hula handsPINIMAGE

There were hula performances from students, staff, faculty and Kūpuna. ipa may day ʻohanaPINIMAGE

Kumu Momi and her daughter Makana happily stand next to Ruth Babas and the rest of the IPA ʻohana.

47 strand pikake leiPINIMAGE

Each flower was strung by Kaseyʻs ʻohana for the special celebration,  producing the beautiful 47 strand pikake lei.

nunies generationPINIMAGE

Kasey Nunies proudly stands between her mother and grandmother, all leiʻd with pikake flowers. kasey grandmotherPINIMAGE

Kasey Nunies and her grandmother embrace after the celebration was over.


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