The Hawaiʻi State Society of Washington, D.C. (HSS) is proud to introduce Emily Kukana Waipulani Hoʻopiʻi as its 2016 Cherry Blossom Princess. Kukana is the daughter of Gigi and Waiʻanae born Isaac Hoʻopiʻi and resides in Virginia. Born in Fairfax, Virginia, Kukana is a 2010 graduate of McLean High School and graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2014 with a B.S. degree in Biology. She hopes to go to graduate school in the fall to pursue a degree in Marine Biology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
As a youth, Kukana played softball and basketball. She went on to play in the Little League World Series, whose team won 2nd place and ranked 2nd nationally. After high school, Kukana retired from sports and focused on academics and her employment at the McLean Animal Hospital and her duties as Telefund Ambassador at Christopher Newport.
Being of Hawaiian koko(blood) and raised in the D.C. area’s Hawaiian community, Kukana has devoted herself to practicing the values and traditions of her Native Hawaiian heritage. She studied hula under the tutelage of Kumu Hula Wayne Kahoʻonei Panoke and Paul Neves and is now a member of Hālau Nohona Hawaiʻi led by Kumu Hula Kaimana Chee. Kukana continues to support her father as a dancer for the Aloha Boys band in performances that included The Kennedy Center, the Hawaiʻi State Capitol, the Birchmere and Presidential Hawaiʻi Inaugural Ball. She was one of the princesses on the Royal Court at the recent 2015 HSS Aloha Pageant and Festival.
Please mark your calendars to join us in honoring Kukana at her Coronation Dinner on Saturday, April 2, 2016.
Save the Date: Annual King Kamehameha Lei Draping Ceremony – May 22