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Nā Kōlea throws 49th annual luau after a three year hiatus

Nā Kōlea throws 49th annual luau after a three year hiatus

After a three-year pandemic induced hiatus, LMU’s student-run organization and Hawaii club, Nā Kōlea, hosted their 49th annual luau at Sunken Gardens on Sunday. The club’s historical and annual tradition aims towards sharing the “aloha spirit” – which makes the club members’ home, Hawaii, so special.

Nā Kōlea has been part of the LMU student affairs since 1973, creating a bond between students who are from Hawaii or have interest in learning Hawaiian culture.

Nā Kōlea’s board and chair members introduce themselves at the 49th annual luau on Sunken Garden. From left to right: Taylor Lau, Bryce Yoshida, Brendan Parke, Jordan Shiu, and Cole Ichikawa.

Nearly 400 people attended the event to enjoy Hawaiian food, culture, and hospitality hosted by students.

Nā Kōlea Vice President Jordan Shiu, ’24, and President Cole Ichikawa, ’24, were both born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii.

This year’s luau theme was Ka Lā Hiki Ola, meaning “the dawning of a new day.” 

“This [theme] is so prevalent to our luau today because we haven’t thrown one in three years due to COVID,” said Taylor Lau, the club’s junior luau co-chair. “Everyone in Hawaii Club this year has never seen or been apart of the annual luau, so this truly was a dawning of a new day, and I am so excited to share what we have planned.”

Nā Kōlea club members serving guests Hawaiian food, provided by Rutt’s Hawaiian Catering.

Lau and Nā Kōlea’s President, Cole Ichikawa, ’24, taught and practiced hula dances they learned from their high school, ‘Iolani School, back home in Hawaii, with participating club members for a month. A total of three dances were performed at the luau. 

The wahine or women of Nā Kōlea performing a hula dance.
The kāne or men of Nā Kōlea performing a hula dance.
Group hula dance performed by Nā Kōlea members.

The 2016 Grammy Award Nominee reggae band, Common Kings, also performed at the event and were a highly anticipated part of the night.

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“They’re like one of the best reggae bands in the world right now, absolutely iconic in Hawaii,” said Nā Kōlea senior Vice President, Jordan Shiu.

Students and guests sang and danced along to the American, Hawaiian and Samoan band’s hit songs such as “Wade in Your Water,” “No Other Love,” and “Lost in Paradise.”

Common Kings performing at LMU for the luau.
LMU students and Nā Kōlea members pose with the band members of Common Kings.

Nā Kōlea is truly bringing the “aloha spirit” to the LMU community, and continues to strive for sharing and educating people on Hawaiian culture.

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