Carnival Haku Lei: A Tradition for the Rosa ‘Ohana

By Michelle Chung P’25

The Punahou Carnival is the culmination of the tremendous dedication of its volunteers. This is demonstrated by so many families such as the Rosa ‘ohana, who have been continually pledging their time and knowledge at the Haku Lei Booth for three generations. 

This family’s tradition began with Aunty Carol Rosa, who was taught the art of making lei by her mother and other kūpuna she had the privilege of learning from while growing up in Pauoa. Her journey as a volunteer at the Carnival Haku Lei Booth started when fellow lei makers asked if she would help make lei for Carnival and continued when her eldest granddaughter, Kealohilani Myers-Rosa ’15, attended Punahou. 

When asked why she dedicates her time, she simply said, “I do it for love and family.” Aunty Carol’s passion and skill in lei-making have been a cherished asset at our booth.

Aunty Carol’s daughter-in-law, Stacie Rosa, currently serves as our fearless lead Chair. Although not a lei-maker herself, Stacie’s self-proclaimed role is “a conduit to my mother-in-law” as she bridges the generational gap, connecting her ‘ohana’s legacy to this cherished Carnival tradition. Stacie’s journey started at the Saimin Booth, but quickly transitioned after a funny story having to do with hot broth management. Stacie’s dedication to Carnival is a testament to her commitment to family and the Punahou community.

The third generation of the Rosa ‘ohana is represented by Kamalieonalani Myers-Rosa ’25, a current Junior at Punahou. Malie has been making lei with her grandmother, Aunty Carol, all her life. This family connection and the art of lei-making have become an integral part of her upbringing. Malie’s dedication and willingness to help have continued the family’s legacy at the Haku Lei Booth.

Creating lei for the booth is a labor of love. Hard working volunteers spend countless hours collecting and preparing carefully curated flowers and foliage, from coveted palapalai ferns to brightly colored ‘ohai ali‘i blossoms. Every year, these dedicated individuals provide a delightful selection of flora for the lei makers to choose from.

Learning the well-mastered lei-making techniques from our kūpuna, and seeing the smiles these lei bring to their wearers at Carnival is incredibly rewarding. 

I,  along with my Haku Lei Booth Chairs Stacie Rosa, Steffany Nguyen, Sarah Niemann, Cee Cee Simmons, and Nicolette Uemoto, volunteer to experience these magical moments and to connect with our Punahou community.

You, too, can be a part of this wonderful tradition. Whether you’re a skilled lei maker, want to help with preparing the material, or can donate flowers and foliage, there are numerous ways to contribute. Join us in honoring the Rosa ‘ohana’s legacy of keeping the spirit of love and family alive at the Haku Lei Booth. Your support helps us continue this cherished tradition, making it a beautiful experience for all.

Carnival 2024: Sign Up for a Shift Today!

Get ready to Explore the Shore! Be a part of the Punahou Carnival tradition. Your kōkua and support are needed to help with the many food, games and specialty booths that make the Punahou Carnival a fun and memorable experience for our students and the community!

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