Frank Hewett

Wednesday - August 15, 2007
By Kerry Miller | Share

Frank Hewett
Frank Hewett

Kumu hula Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett has been bringing joy to the Windward side for 30 years with his annual Ho’ike. Regular attendees of the big day should make sure to get their tickets for Saturday’s show, because it may be Hewett’s last hoorah.

“It’s going to be our 30th annual ho’ike,” says the MidWeek cover subject from January 1992. “We try to keep it a family event of Hawaiian music and dance with local entertainers. We try as much as possible to incorporate as many hula schools as we can.

“This year may be the last year. When I started I did say I’d do it for 30 years and re-evaluate it to see where we wanted to go with the program. Thirty years ago I was 20, now I’m 53. I was just starting out being a parent then, now I am a grandparent,” he adds.

The ho’ike happens Aug. 18 in Ron Bright Theatre at Castle High School. Curtain time is 5 p.m. The evening features Jerry Santos and Olomana, the Lim family, Hoku Zuttermeister, Hewett’s students showcasing their hula skills, and Hewett himself. Tickets are $20 and are available by calling 247-4330.

“This is going to be kind of a monumental ho’ike for us,” the Hilo resident continues. “The theme has reference to keeping the torch burning, and how that torch is going to keep burning that remains to be seen. It was a wonderful time, a wonderful experience to be able to share with people.”

Lately, when he hasn’t been preoccupied with planning his annual event, Hewett has been working on other ventures. With traveling to Japan every two weeks, teaching hula and thinking of a new hula event to bring to Kaneohe, he’s busier than ever.

“It’s never a dull moment,” he laughs, adding that “While in Japan I instruct people on hula as well as Hawaiian culture. I have a really busy schedule. I’m in the process of teaching a hula workshop at my home in Hilo. Teachers from Southern California, Japan and Hawaii come. I work with them on preparing to become teacher. It’s just a lot of hula kahiko: traditions, terminology, contemporary numbers in hula tradition, proper language. There so many things a kumu hula has to learn. They come four times a year.”

Here on Oahu, Hewett is a board member of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, for which he attended a meeting last week, and afterward zipped over to the airport to fly to Hilo to teach his hula class. “I’ve been a teacher in Hawaii of hula for 35 years. I’m a grandfather (and) still doing the things I did 20 years ago. Everybody around me might have a hard time catching up with me. I’m on this ‘go go go’ pattern,” he laughs.

As far as his future plans go, Hewett is considering hosting a hula competition in Kaneohe featuring contemporary forms of hula.

“This is something that I want to do,” he says.

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