5 Powerful Moments You Missed at the 2017 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards

Hawaiʻi’s biggest night of music had some jaw-dropping moments.

Photos: Greg Yamamoto


1. Keauhou sweeps the competition, winning a pile of Nā Hōkū Awards

The band’s self-titled album, Keauhou, was nominated for 12 awards, and it scooped nine of them, making Keauhou the evening’s biggest winners. “We were surprised we won song of the year. I could not believe ‘Hanohano Haʻikū’ was the winner,” group member Zachary Lum said. Notably, the band also won Album of the Year, Most Promising Artist and Entertainer of the Year awards.


2. Auliʻi Cravalho presented awards

The voice of Moana in the Disney hit Moana, Auliʻi Cravalho, presented awards while audience members chanted for her to sing. Although she did not perform, she laughed and threw a shaka when Billy V made a short, heartwarming speech about her poise during the Oscars when she was hit on the head by a dancer carrying a fake wave. He even thanked her mother for making sure Cravalho stayed true to her roots and did her homework despite her rocket to fame.


Aulii Cravalho


SEE ALSO: “Moana” Star Auli‘i Cravalho Opens Up About the Oscars and “Drama High”


3. Tantra was the first woman to win Hip-Hop Album of the Year

The former POWER 104.3 morning-show radio personality won Hip-Hop Album of the Year, the first woman to snag the prize. “I died, I wrote, I came back,” she said during her emotional acceptance speech.


4. Billy V wins the Aloha Is Award

The popular Hawai‘i News Now Sunrise reporter and Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards host Billy V may not have expected to be in the winners circle himself, but he was given the “Aloha Is” award for his dedication to community service. He serves on the board of directors for the Kona Club of Honolulu, which raises funds for graduating seniors of Konawaena and Kealakehe high schools. He also created a scholarship at Konawaena High School to help senior students pursue a career in broadcast journalism.


5. The “chicken skin” reunions

The 40th Annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards celebration brought back past winners, and inspired some exciting reunions. The Hawaiian Style Band reunited for a nostalgic rendition of hit song “Love and Honesty.” Jake Shimabukuro, Jon Yamasato and Lopaka Colon also came together once again as Pure Heart, with special guests John Cruz and Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom joining in as a tribute to Ernie Cruz Jr., who passed away in 2016. Their performance led right into the big finale with Hoʻaikane and Manaʻo Company. Once the performers began singing “Drop Baby Drop” and “Aloha,” the audience couldn’t stay in its seats.


Pure Heart
Pure Heart.


Want to see who won in each category? Check out the full list of winners, plus a photo gallery, below.


Preshow Awards

Graphics Award:

Kawikanui Kahele for Ku’u Pua Sakura, Hoku Zuttermeister (Kaleiola Records)


Liner Notes Award:

Zachary Lum, for Keauhou by Keauhou (Keauhou)


Engineering Award ­ Hawaiian Category:

Dave Tucciarone for He Leo Huali, “A Pure Voice,” Ra‘iātea Helm (Ra‘iātea Helm Records)


Engineering Award ­General Category:

David Kauahikaua for Whenever You Come Around, A Touch of Gold (Kuleana Breakfast Club)


Music DVD of the Year:

Hawai‘i Aloha – Song Across Hawai‘i, Various Artists (Mana Maoli)


Comedy Album of the Year:

I Am a Bad Decision, Brandi Morgan (Pass Out Records)


Compilation Album of the Year:

Mele From Aunty’s Beach House Aulani, A Disney Resort And Spa, Various Artists (Walt Disney Records), Kenneth Makuakāne – producer


Hip-Hop Album of the Year:

Love’s Heretic, Tantra (no label)


Christmas Album of the Year:

Maui Slack Key Christmas, George Kahumoku Jr. (Kealia Farms Records)


Hawaiian Slack Key Album of the Year:

Hiʻilawe, Cyril Pahinui (Pahinui Productions)


Religious Album of the Year:

Righteous Son Rize, Rupert Tripp Jr. (RTJ Music)


Anthology Album of the Year:

Kamaka ‘Ukulele Presents: Keep Strumming! Celebrating 100 Years, Various Artists (Kamaka Hawaiʻi), Kamaka Hawaiʻi Inc. – producers


Alternative Album of the Year:

Kukahi, Kukahi Lee (Makalii Productions)


Live Show

Instrumental Album of the Year:

Wahi Pana, Songs Of Place, Jeff Peterson (Peterson Productions)


Instrumental Composition:

“Kiʻhoalu,” by Cyril Pahinui from Hiʻilawe, Cyril Pahinui (Pahinui Productions)


International Album Special Recognition Award:

My Favorite Things, ‘Ukulele Swing Trio (JB Music)


Rock Album of the Year:

The Overthrow, Nesta (no label)


Jazz Album of the Year:

Between The Music & The Moon, Maggie Herron (Herron Song Records)


Contemporary Album of the Year:

E Walea, Kalani Pe‘a (Kalani Pe‘a Music)


Reggae Album of the Year:

Tales of the Fruit Stand Mystic, Kanekoa (Kanekoa)


Most Promising Artist of the Year:

Keauhou, Keauhou (Keauhou)


‘Ukulele Album of the Year:

Jus’ Press Vol. 2, Ledward Kaapana (Jus’ Press)


Extended Play (EP) Release of the Year:

Alo I Ke Alo, Mailani (Hā Enterprises)


Island Music Album of the Year:

Pua Kiele, Josh Tatofi (Bu-Print Records)


Single of the Year:

“Moloka‘i On My Mind,” Blayne Asing (Asing A Song)


Haku Mele Award:

“Hanohano Haʻikū” by Zachary Alakaʻi Lum from Keauhou, Keauhou (Keauhou)


Hawaiian Language Performance Award:

Keauhou, Keauhou (Keauhou)


Hawaiian Album of the Year:

Keauhou, Keauhou (Keauhou)


Group of the Year:

Keauhou, Keauhou (Keauhou)


Favorite Entertainer of the Year:



Female Vocalist of the Year:

Raʻiātea Helm, He Leo Huali, “A Pure Voice” (Raʻiātea Helm Records)


Male Vocalist of the Year:

Josh Tatofi, Pua Kiele (Bu-Print Records)


Song of the Year:

“Hanohano Haʻikū” by Zachary Alakaʻi Lum from Keauhou, Keauhou (Keauhou)


Album of the Year:

Keauhou, Keauhou (Keauhou) Keauhou – producers