Waikiki Beach Walk Celebrates Hawaiian Culture In A Very Special Mele Hali‘a In July

July 03, 2022

As part of our year-long celebration of our 15th anniversary, Waikiki Beach Walk is featuring a traditional Hawaiian cultural activity every month. This is part of our monthly Mele Hali‘a …our special presentation of Hawaiian music (mele) and hula scheduled for one Sunday each month.
For July’s Mele Hali‘a on July 17 we have two very special presentations.
Etching of the Makahiki Games


Makahiki means “new year” in Hawaiian, and the Makahiki Games were a tournament developed in ancient times to celebrate the turning of a new year in the Hawaiian calendar with a festival of games and feasting.
On the surface, this seems like a whole lot of casual fun. But it was far more than just food, fun and frolic to the ancients.
First of all, the turning of the new year was a time decreed for reflection, gratitude, and renewal. Wars ceased. Major construction projects suspended. Debts were forgiven and gifts were prepared to be offered to Lono, the Hawaiian god of fertility, rainfall, and peace, with the hopes that these sacrifices would come back as blessings of bountiful crops, harmony and growing, healthy families.

Even the games themselves were specifically crafted to develop physical, mental, and spiritual strength. Which was very important in Polynesian culture.

And once the offerings to Lono were made, the people were free to engage in the games and leisure to celebrate their year-long hard work. Major Makahiki tournaments were conducted in each community, with the champions invited by the royalty for special tournaments to determine the champion of the entire island.

Are you getting the idea that this was kind of a big deal? It was.


Etching of King Kamehameha

The original Makahiki Games consisted of multiple events, and they were quite similar to the ancient Greek Olympic games, as many contests required skills that were necessary for battle.

For example, one of the ancient “games” was Ōʻō Ihe, or spear tossing, and legend has it that King Kamehameha the Great once participated in this contest and had SEVEN spears thrown at him, with the great unifier of the islands catching three, dodging three, and deflecting one with his body!

Cultural westernization dampened traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian cultural expressions and practices through the late 19th and early-to-middle 20th centuries, and the last traditional Makahiki Games were held on Molokai in 1909. But the Makahiki Games were revived as part of the Hawaiian cultural renaissance that began in the 1970s and are now presented throughout the Islands.

And while we won’t be featuring spear throwing, Waikiki Beach Walk is proud to present our special Makahiki Games on Sunday, July 17, starting at 4pm with these select events:
  • Kōnane – A form of Hawaiian checkers
  • ‘Ulu Maika – Hawaiian Lawn Bowling
  • Moa Pahe'e – Dart Sliding
  • Hukihuki – Hawaiian Tug of War
Join us for one of the most fun July events you’ll find in Waikiki, or even all of Honolulu.


Mailani Makainai was raised in a loving and supportive home where the importance and tradition of her Hawaiian culture was instilled early on by her parents. As she blossomed, so did her passion and interest as a vocalist, composer, and musician. 

By the time she was in middle school in Honolulu, she and a friend had received two prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, and released four other award-winning albums, securing a place within the Hawaii music scene.

In 2010, her self-titled release, "Mailani," garnered her the Na Hoku Hanohano award for Female Vocalist of the year, which confirmed her place amongst Hawaii entertainers. With her mesmerizing songs and lilting voice, fans old and new to her style of music continue to sing her praises.

Mailani shares stories with audiences about the culture, language and traditions that are Hawaii as her talks evolve into beautiful melodies that represent the culture of Hawaii today.

She brings a unique musical performance and message that truly inspire her audiences, and this will be a very special presentation sure to delight you and your family.
Make plans to savor this remarkable performance on Sunday, July 17, starting 5pm at the Plaza Stage.