Forsythe, Nā Lio raise funds for Haku Baldwin Center

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Photo by Quinn Williams

Senior Ayla Forsythe hosted, organized, sold tickets, marketed and participated in the show ‘Nā Lio’ for her senior project on Friday Oct. 23, 2015, in Lahaina.

LAHAINA–Kamehameha Maui’s Ayla Forsythe raised more than $1,500 for the Haku Baldwin Center at her senior project showcase Nā Lio in Lahaina on Friday night.

“I think the night of my project went really well,” she said. “My goal for ticket sales was 50, and I reached that goal and then some.”

Nā Lio is an equestrian performance that uses actors, dancers, and live horses to tell the story of how the horse got to Hawaiʻi in 1803.

Marla Braun-Miller, owner and creator, initially came up with the idea for Nā Lio after her exposure to paʻu riding.

“I love to ride, and then I had an opportunity to ride in a paʻu unit,” Braun-Miller said. “I started to fall in love with paʻu riding and how they adorn the horses with [lei], and the women are in beautiful wrapped clothes and gorgeous [lei].”

From this, Braun-Miller took the attention her paʻu riding group was receiving on Front Street and began to research the history of how the horse came to Hawaiʻi, and Nā Lio was born.

Braun-Miller owns three of the horses used in the show and boards the rest.

She supported Forsythe in the idea of her senior project and thought it could build exposure.

“It was a great idea to help promote the show and support a good foundation,” Braun-Miller said.

Forsythe marketed the one-night discounted show through flyers and social media to “get the word out as soon as possible.”

“I ended up making deliveries all over the island,” she said.

Prices for the show usually range from $109 for Aliʻi seating to $89 for Premium seating, but the prices were lowered to $65 for Aliʻi and $50 for Premium at Forsythe’s showing to encourage sales and attendance and boost profits to donate to her cause.

She also was in charge of handling all reservations and planning the seating charts.

Forsythe has been working at Nā Lio for about a year as a dancer and actor. The show premiered in June and plays every Friday. For more information about the company, click here.

“I think everyone that came to the show really enjoyed it and learned a lot,” Forsythe said. “Especially those children that participate in the riding program at the Haku Baldwin Center.”

Half of the ticket sales was put aside for the Haku Baldwin Center in Makawao to help with their therapeutic animal programs for special needs children. The rest was used to pay for the show and those in it.

“The Haku Baldwin Center is a place where veterans, special needs children, and their families can go free of charge to participate in animal therapy programs,” Forsythe said.

She said that the therapeutic program helps to build motor skills, social skills, and a love for animals.