Alapai, Cadiz, Kupuni win at fundraiser


Photo by Brianne Reformina

Korey Cadiz, Kawai Kupuni, Hoala Alapai, and Maui High senior Kealani Alapai with the centerpiece of their award-winning table design. On Mar. 11 at the King Kamehameha Golf Club, these four high school students designed a table for the 21st annual Women Helping Women fundraiser. This year’s fundraiser theme was Restoring the Heart: Hoʻokele Puʻuwai.

Sticky pieces of newspaper lay scattered around the green tabletop while four girls carefully maneuvered their way around the 20-inch makeshift body of Te Fiti, a nature goddess from the Disney movie Moana. After a month of strategic planning and hard work, freshmen Korey Cadiz, Kawai Kupuni, sophomore Hoala Alapai, and Maui High senior Kealani Alapai received thunderous applause for winning the Most Outstanding award at the annual Women Helping Women fundraiser March 11 at King Kamehameha Golf Club.

Every year, Women Helping Women, a support group, holds a themed fundraiser to raise awareness of domestic violence.This year’s theme was Restoring the Heart: Hoʻokele Puʻuwai, mimicking the theme of the Disney movie Moana, and different sponsors and volunteers decorated their tables correlating to the theme.

“This year’s table designs were amazing and beautifully done, and [Women Helping Women] always love to award tables for their hard work and preparation,” Women Helping Women Executive Director Sanoe Kaʻaihue said.

There were 22 tables decorated in all sorts of Moana-themed decor, such as a replica of a Hawaiian canoe, a fountain of cupcakes with designs of Moana and Maui, and the set-up of Te Fiti in the middle of the ballroom.

The girls' table design of Moana's Te Fiti to match the theme of the fundraiser's theme Restoring the Heart.
Photo by Brianne Reformina
The girls’ table design of Moana’s Te Fiti to match the theme of the fundraiser’s theme Restoring the Heart.

Organizations in Hawaiʻi bought tables and decorated the tables at the fundraiser. The purpose of the fundraiser is to raise awareness of domestic violence in the state and to raise money for the Women Helping Women organization, so they can aid victims of domestic abuse. In addition to charging for a table, Women Helping Women also held a silent auction with donated items from over 70 Maui companies.

Along with the silent auction, there was a live auction accompanied by special guest speakers Contessa Casky, Anna Saucedo, and Melanie Kehaunani King of the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Voyaging Society and musical guests Robi Kahakalau and the band Kuaola.

At the end of the fundraiser, it was time to award those who decorated tables and thank the people who attended and donated to the organization. Kaʻaihue said the annual fundraiser raised nearly $50,000, making it “a success for the night.”

The tension in the room grew as Kaʻaihue ripped open the envelope that announced that the four high school girls were the winners of the overall Most Outstanding award for their table design of Te Fiti. They celebrated on-stage where Kupuni took to the mic and touched on their group’s process of preparation and teamwork.

“I was grateful that [Korey] asked me to help with this project because it helped me learn how to work with a group and do something I never thought I would’ve done,” Kupuni said.

Cadiz said she had her heart set on supporting a cause her family has been a part of for most of her life. Her step-mom, Natasha King, has designed tables in the past, but this time, she didn’t help Cadiz and the girls much.

“We took it on ourselves to do this project together with as little help as possible, and I think we did a pretty awesome job,” Cadiz said.

The four girls spent every Sunday for a month building the base for Te Fiti. They covered the base with newspaper, green paint, and other decorative pieces to add the finishing touch. Te Fiti was adorned with beautiful flowers and lights to make their table design complete.

Hoala Alapai said that working with the girls was an amazing experience, and “to work with these girls [was] a privilege, and you wouldn’t be disappointed.”

The fundraiser ended shortly after the announcement of the table design winners. Check the website of Women Helping Women to learn more about upcoming events or domestic violence in general.