Chinky Māhoe began dancing hula in December of 1967 under hula master “Uncle” George Nā‘ope. In July of 1977 he then joined “The Men of Waimāpuna” under the direction of the late kumu hula Darrell Lupenui who has won several Merrie Monarch competitions with both their men and women hālau.
In November of 1979 Māhoe, with the help and consent of his kumu Darrell, began teaching his hālau in Kailua, O‘ahu. In 1982 Māhoe left “The Men of Waimāpuna” to concentrate on his hālau “Kawaili‘ula”.
Kawaili‘ulā, meaning mirage of shimmering water is a family name as well as Māhoe’s middle name. The hālau began entering hula competitions with their young men in 1981 starting with the high school competition sponsored then by the Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Trust. The young men placed first which started the momentum of a fast growing hālau.
The focus of the hālau in the beginning years, were to enter hula competitions. The hālau performed in all major hula festivals such as the Keiki Hula sponsored by the Kalihi-Palama Culture and the Arts, Kamehameha Day Celebration and the Merrie Monarch Hula Festivals. The hālau placed with top honors in each of these festivals.
In 1991, the hālau focused on traveling. Taking a break from competition for two years, the hālau performed at places such as Sapporo, Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Okayama, and Tokyo, Japan also on the west and east coast like Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Maryland, New York, and Toronto, Canada, New Zealand, Okinawa, Korea and London.
From 1993 to1997 the hālau went back to the Merrie Monarch Hula competition and won in the overall men’s division five years consecutive and has taken the overall title nine times since 1989. The women placed first in the hula kahiko (ancient hula) in 1994 and second overall in 1995. Their kaikamahine has won and place many time at the Queen Lili’uokalani Keiki Hula Festival in Honolulu and for four years from 1994-97 the young boys of the hālau took top honors.
Chinky currently travels to the Mainland U.S. and Japan to conduct hula workshops and perform in concerts along with groups like the Mākaha Sons, Robi Kahakalau, Sean Na’auao, Ho’okena, Riatea Helm, Cyru Pahinui, Teresa Bright, Loyal Garner and many more. The focus of the hālau is to be able to perpetuate the hula not only in their performances, but by conducting hula workshops and sharing the Hawaiian culture throughout the world.
Chinky and his hālau has committed themselves to teach the art of hula, the Hawaiian culture and the cultural protocol to their followers and people of Japan. They have performed numerous times throughout Japan for concerts and hö’ike for the many hālau.
The kāne of Kawaili’ulā are the overall winners of the 50th annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival and are the current overall winners again for 2017 which makes this their 11th overall title.