George Lanakilakekiahiali'i Na'ope (1928-2009), born in Kalihi, Hawai'i, was a celebrated kumu hula, master Hawaiian chanter, and leading advocate and preservationist of native Hawaiian culture worldwide. He taught hula dancing for over sixty years. Na'ope was a scholar of ancient hula, which is hula that was developed and danced before 1893. He first studied hula at three years old under the tutelage of his great grandmother, Mary Malia Pukaokalani Na'ope, who lived to be over 100 years old. Upon graduating from high school Na'ope started his very own hula school, and he was the founder of the Merry Monarch Festival in 1964. He received numerous awards in his life including the "Treasure of Hawaii" award from the Smithsonian Institute given to him by President George H.W. Bush. He was the recipient of the 2006 National Endowment of the Arts Lifetime Honors Award. George was also the founder of the Humu Mo'olelo, a quarterly journal of the hula arts. George died at the age 81.

The George Na'ope Kane Hula Festival (2010). Uncle George Lanakilakeikiahiali'i Na'ope. Retrieved from March 3, 2011.

Edwards, Tiffany. The Merrie Master Uncle George Na'ope talks candidly about his love of Japan and his dream of a hula museum. (2007, March 14) Honolulu Weekly. (Retrieved from