Na Haumana O Hawaii celebrates 50th anniversary in style

Golden Anniversary Lu'au celebrates University's rich history of Hawaiian heritage

Photos courtesy of Casey Nishimura

Pacific University's student Hawaiian club, Na Haumana O Hawaii, celebrated its 50th year in style with a golden anniversary Lu'au that captured the hearts and emotions of nearly 2,000 people on Saturday, April 10.

The event brought hundreds of Hawaii residents to Forest Grove, as parents, siblings, friends and alumni descended upon Forest Grove in support of Na Haumana O Hawaii, whose membership of more than 300 strong comprise 20 percent of Pacific's undergraduate enrollment. Event chairs Lacey Chong, Andrea Chun and Ryan Nakagawa provided leadership that ensured a seamless event.

In typical fashion, attendees lined up outside the University Center well in advance for the customary dinner that featured all the Island favorites - including kalua pig, cooked on site in an underground imu oven for 16 hours - as well as poi, haupia, coconut cake, punch and more.

While the traditional meal, country store offerings of Hawaiian food, clothing and novelties, and attendees' fellowship and pleasantries all struck a familiar chord, there was certainly something different about this Lu'au. 

Grandiosity was apparent the moment one set foot in the Pacific Athletic Center, as a colorful 50th anniversary set provided a backdrop for what 1974 alum and Royal Court King Gary Pacarro would later call the greatest show of the Luau's past 34 years.

And thanks to dance major Rose Beltrone's senior capstone project, the vastly improved lighting enhanced the vibrant rhythm and dance that embodied the Lu'au theme, Manawa Le'a, or "Sweetest Times."

Immediately after the 2009 Lu'au, Beltrone sought and received permission from club advisors Edna K. Gehring, Pete Erschen and Denise Giesbers to develop a computerized strategic plan to improve lighting, spectator sightlines and other aesthetic logistics.

Included in the plan was a replacement of traditional 2-color stationary spotlights with 25-color roving scrollers that brought both the stage and aisles to life, all at a total cost savings of $200.   Beltrone will present her plan and be one of several hundred seniors presenting their capstone projects on Senior Day slated for Wednesday, April 28.

As an enthusiastic crowd took their seats, the show commenced with a retrospective highlight video of the past 50 years and included a message from club founder and longtime professor Fred Scheller, who the club dedicated the 50th Lu'au to.

A traditional conch shell and welcoming oli followed before a plethora of dance and music showered the Pacific Athletic Center for the next two hours. 

Donning unique dress for each and every number, the young men and women's dance and musical precision in representing their ethnic heritage spoke well beyond their years. 

Long time favorite routines like Hula, Haka and Fire Knife dance were delightfully balanced by a blend of traditional and contemporary genres such as Traditional Filipino and Hip Hop, as well as Island-infused dedications to the heartland culture of cowboys and rodeo. Performers also paid homage to Japanese and Samoan culture with the ladies closing the event with an enticing traditional Tahitian dance.

The Royal Court, consisting of alumni King Pacarro, Queen Joyce Etrata Wachsmuth ('68) and 16 princes and princesses, took part in a ruckus alumni dance with current club members, University president Lesley Hallick and Board of Trustees chair Mindy Cameron.

In recognition of its 50th anniversary, Na Haumana O Hawaii and the Lu'au received proclamation in the U.S. Congressional Record from Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii).


Posted by Joe Lang ( on Apr 12, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Edited by Stephanie Haugen ( on May 3, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Review/Edit in CANS

Share This Article
rss logo Subscribe to Feed
Related Pages
Media Releases