UNC's Hawai'i Club To Host Special 30th Annual Lū'au
April 3, 2023
On Saturday, April 8, at 5 p.m., in the University Center Ballrooms, the Ha’aheo ‘O Hawai‘i Club will host its 30th annual Lū‘au.
“It’s a very important event. It’s a tradition here at UNC. Everyone who works on this Lū‘au, they put so much care and thought into it to make it very successful,” said Jorge Jaquez Márquez, the marketing and creative specialist for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DDEI).
In honor of this being the 30th annual Lū‘au at UNC, the event will feature a variety of fun activities, including live entertainment from The City Boys, a reggae band from O‘ahu. The Hawai‘i Club will also perform dances from several Pacific Islands, choreographed by alumni Taylor Uyetake, ‘20, ‘22, and performed alongside Khodey Ishikawa, ‘20.
The purpose of the Lū'au is to help students from Hawai‘i who attend UNC feel connected to their roots.
“When you move from home, it’s definitely hard,” said Mariah Faamama, this year’s Lū‘au coordinator. “Sharing and bonding with everyone is really what I think of when I think of the Lū‘au, and so having that while still being away from home is really important.”
The Lū‘au is also an opportunity for everyone in the UNC community to engage with and learn more about the culture of their peers from Hawai‘i.
“Historically, after talking to alumni, the biggest thing is to be able to provide accurate representation of Hawaiian culture,” said Eryka Charley, the director for APASS and NASS. “Kind of a broad, tropical brush is being painted across this population, so it’s their opportunity to be able to correct the narrative and bring some authenticity so that campus knows who our population of people from Hawai‘i are.”
The Lū‘au will feature plenty of traditional Hawaiian foods for guests to enjoy, such as kalua pig, chicken long rice, fresh pineapple, butter mochi and more. Guests can also check out the Country Store.
“It’s where we sell popular items from Hawai‘i, like macadamia nuts,” Faamama said. “This year, we’re trying to sell attire, like hats and shirts.”
Children are also welcome at the Keiki Corner.
“We have a little fishing curtain with a goody bag,” said Tatum Katsutani, a student employee for Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS) and treasurer for the Hawai‘i Club. “We’re planning to do coloring sheets that have animals in Hawaiian to teach them a little bit. We’re looking into doing a little tattoo station as well with little Lilo and Stitch tattoos.”
This event is made possible through the collaboration of departments across UNC, including the Hawai‘i Club, the Office of Student Life, DDEI, Dining Services, Alumni Relations and APASS.
“There’s also a lot of support from alumni through donations, monetary as well as items for the Country Store for them to sell,” said Johana Flores, associate director for APASS and Native American Student Services (NASS).
Each annual Lū‘au has its own theme. This year’s theme is Mālama Da ‘Āina, or “Taking Care of the Land.”
“This year, we just wanted to broaden the theme a little bit and express every island as it is,” Katsutani said.
Tickets are required for entry. Tickets for UNC students, staff, faculty and AIMS students are free. Tickets for children under 12 are also free. For anyone not affiliated with UNC, tickets are $25. Visit the Ticket Central website to purchase a ticket.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. on April 8. Be sure to arrive early since doors close promptly at 5 p.m. No late entries will be admitted.
- written by Alani Casiano, a senior English major at UNC