Big Island’s Sig Zane and Nalani Kanaka’ole to Receive Dukes 2009 Hoʻokahiko Award Tomorrow in Honolulu

Hat tip to Reiko:

Two renowned island treasures, who also happen to be husband and wife, Nalani Kanaka’ole and Sig Zane, will be presented with Duke’s Waikiki’s 2009 Hoʻokahiko Award for their dedication and contribution to perpetuating Hawaiian culture and tradition. Nalani will be honored for continuing ancient Hawaiian Hula and Sig will be recognized for maintaining Hawaiian values and culture through his clothing designs. The private ceremony will take place on Thursday, March 19, 2009 at Duke’s Waikiki.


“Nalani and Sig deserve recognition for their work that perpetuates Hawaiian culture,” said Ross Anderson, senior general manager at Duke’s Waikiki. “The Hawaiian ways would be lost if it wasn’t for people like them and we’re proud to honor them with this year’s Ho’okahiko Award.”

Kanaka’ole is the daughter of the late Edith Kanaka’ole – one of the most regarded Hawaiian cultural leaders of her time. She is a renowned choreographer, cultural consultant, educator of Hawaiian practices, and Co-Kumu of Halau O Kekuhi.

Dedicated to perpetuating ancient, traditional-style hula and oli (chant), Kanaka’ole and her family started the Edith Kanakaole Foundation in 1990. The Foundation seeks to increase indigenous Hawaiian cultural awareness and participation through educational programs and scholarships. Today, Kanaka’ole serves as the Artistic Director of the Foundation and also as the Director of the Native Hawaiian Art School.

Kanaka’ole has directed many groundbreaking musical pieces and stage performances throughout her lifetime. In 1998, she and her sister, Pualani, documented Halau O Kekuhi’s roots in ancient Hawaiian myths with the launch of the album “Uwolani,” which received Hoku Awards in the Hawaiian Language Performance and Haku Mele categories. In 2003, Kanaka’ole also collaborated with Peter Rockford Espiritu’s Tau Dance Company to produce ”Hanau Ka Moku: An Island Is Born“ at the Hawaii Theatre. She also co-directed “Kamehameha Pai’ea,” a drama about the warrior Chief Kamehameha, and “Holo Mai Pele,” the first hula opera to be broadcast to a national audience on PBS.

In addition, Kanaka’ole co-founded two organizations: Hika’alani, a Hawaiian Cultural Protocol Group, and Puana, a Native Hawaiian organization established for stage and film production scriptwriters. She also judges the Merry Monarch Festival in Hilo and teaches Hawaiian studies at Hawaii Community College.

Kanaka’ole’s husband, Sig Zane, is an artist and cultural practitioner who designs and creates elegant, Hawaiian floral clothing that is printed and cut by hand. A native of O’ahu, Zane moved to Hilo and became a student of Hawaiian culture in the 1970s. After joining Kanaka’ole’s Halau O Kekuhi, he developed an understanding of Hawaii’s plants and their uses in Hawaiian culture.

Zane eventually married Kanaka’ole. The taro planted in Zane’s garden for his son’s first baby luau inspired his first clothing design because the new taro shoots are called ‘oha and symbolize ‘Ohana in Hawaiian culture. When his designs became popular amongst friends and family, he integrated other plants valued by Hawaiians including taro, hala, ‘ie’ie, and kukui into his fabric designs. With success at his fingertips, Zane opened his first retail store, Sig Zane Designs, in Hilo in 1985. His second store opened in Wailuku, Maui in 1999. By using symbols significant to Hawaiian culture in his clothing line, Zane perpetuates Hawaiian culture and tradition teaching others to appreciate Hawaii’s agriculture and heritage.

Duke’s Waikiki believes strongly and sincerely in Aloha, because it believes that the spirit of Aloha is the best of Hawaii’s traditions. The Hawaiian word “hoʻokahiko” means “cling to the traditions,” and the Duke’s Hoʻokahiko Award was established to honor those who, today, live and exemplify those traditions.

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