Derek Kia’āina Nu’uhiwa, Instructor
Derek studied hula at a young age under the direction of the late Darrell ‘Ihi’ihilauakea Lupenui, Kumu Hula of the world-renowned Men of Waimāpuna. After Darrell’s passing in 1987, Derek continued dancing, but this time professionally, for almost a decade. He performed locally with the Tavana’s Polynesian Show and Germaine’s Lu’au, and then traveled abroad to over 16 countries.
"Some people dream of success, others stay awake to achieve it."
In 1991, Derek received Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and was blessed to participate in the Hula Ministry at the Word of Life Christian Center before opening his own hula ministry, Ke Ali’i O Ka Malu, on April 19, 1994.
"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by Bruddah Iz
In 1996, two promoters from Japan came to Hawai’i to invite Darrell to teach in Tokyo. After learning of Darrell’s passing, they sought out many of Darrell’s students, Derek included, to continue the teaching of Darrell’s Hula legacy in Japan. To date, Derek has been teaching in Tokyo for 17+ years. It is important to note that Derek does NOT call himself a “Kumu Hula” since he did not formally uniki or graduate from a Hula school; instead, his title is simply a Hula instructor and choreographer.
Yoko Ku’umakanahiwahiwa Nu’uhiwa, Kokua
Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Yoko began studying hula In 1995, along with her mother, under the tutelage of Kaleinani Hayakawa. Later, Yoko met Derek in Tokyo at which time she began taking private classes from him whenever he visited.
For the next three years, Derek and Yoko’s relationship grew from that of a teacher-student to that of love — not just for each other, but for the Lord and hula as well.
Derek & Yoko got married in September 2000 and are raising their three children in Wai’anae.
"In town, I went to a night club with a dance floor so small, I was dancing check to cheek with the lady behind my partner."
Pub's Side Note: Sea Country along with the other three bottom blogs are offering free one time advertising space as an introduction of our separate sections of the islands to the reader/dancers. Watch it, if it says Free! On the Internet you must be very careful. Mahalo.