Magic Penny Award

2006: Nona Beamer

The 2006 award, presented in October at the CMN National Conference in Petaluma, California, honored Nona Beamer for her moving devotion and longtime dedication to the preservation of traditional Hawaiian music, dance, and stories. Although she was unable to attend herself, she sent a video greeting and was represented by her adopted son, Kaliko Beamer-Trapp, who participated in the tribute program and conducted a workshop on Hawaiian music.

Nona Kapuailohia Desha Beamer is a noted storyteller, Kumu Hula, chanter, classroom teacher, cultural expert, and passionate Hawaiian. She is the originator of Hawai`iana, a word she coined in 1948 to mean “the study of the very best in Hawaiian culture.” She began her hula and chant studies before she was three with her “Sweetheart Grandma,” Helen Desha Beamer, whom she considers her primary cultural influence.

Auntie Nona’s career includes nearly forty years at Kamehameha Schools, where she helped to integrate Hawaiian culture into the curriculum and where it thrives to this day. (Ironically, in the 1930s she was expelled from Kamehameha for sharing a “standing hula,” which was a no-no at that time.) In her sixty-plus-years professional career, she has conducted countless workshops throughout Hawaii and the world and has published numerous Hawai`iana books and tapes. One of Hawaii’s most beloved and well-known songs, “Pupu Hinuhinu,” was composed by her. In 2000, Auntie Nona inspired the establishment of the Hula Preservation Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the lives of beloved elder hula masters.

This extraordinary woman has dedicated her life to the education of Hawaiians and those who have a desire to learn about Hawaiian culture and hula. Singing to and with children is the very heart of her work. As a keynote speaker and guest panelist at previous CMN national conferences, she brought her wisdom, warmth, humor, and her rich cultural heritage to our members. She truly is the embodiment of aloha.

Photo: Nona Beamer

Unable to be present in California,
Nona Beamer sent a video greeting.

Photo: Nona's son accepts mp-photos

Kaliko Beamer-Trapp,
Nona Beamer's son,
accepted the Award
on her behalf.

Photo: 2006 Magic Penny mp-photos (front)Photo: 2006 Magic Penny mp-photos (side)mp-photos by Alvin McGovern

The shells refer to one of Aunty Nona's
trademark songs; "Pupu Hinuhinu" (Shiny
Shell). The child on the right holds a penny.

Award Designer: Harriett Morton – Tuscon, Arizona