Michelle Manu Co-Producer


Michelle Manu
Host/Narrator, Producer, Contributor, and Legal Representative for Pieces of Aloha

Michelle will be the host and primary narrator of Pieces of Aloha and has hosted several shows such as the Masters Hall of Fame World News and also Silk Warrior. Michelle is intimately familiar with the Hawaiian perspective as she is of mixed Hawaiian descent and is well known for her accomplishments as a Senior Black Belt and teacher (Kumu) of the rarely seen ancient Hawaiian Martial Art, the Kaihewalu Lua. She is the only woman that has studied under Grand Master (Olohe) Solomon Kaihewalu in the last 35 years. To learn the Lua in ancient times, one would have to be of royal (ali’i) descent and of male gender.

Michelle Manu Co-ProducerTherefore it is historic that Michelle has achieved such accomplishments as she is of mixed descent, was raised on mainland U.S., and is a woman. She is also noted to be the only woman in historic record to make Hawaiian Lua Koa (warrior) wood weaponry.

For almost 10 years, Michelle toured the Midwest as a professional Polynesian Hula dancer and choreographer. She now teaches Hula and converts the Hula into the Lua. Her involvement with PIECES OF ALOHA is both as a as an expert as well as passionate interested party. She allows us access not otherwise available in Hawaii and with PIECES OF ALOHA we will reveal the little realized facts about Hawaii at the time of the Japanese attack (i.e. Hawaiian monarchy had been deposed only 50 years earlier, Lua (Hawaiian martial art form) was concealed in the Hula when the missionaries banned the fighting arts. It has never been exposed this way, and many in the Hawaiian culture are still not ready to learn about the correlation. The Hawaiian Lua has always been considered forbidden (kapu). Islanders have either: 1) heard of it and believe it is cursed, do not even talk about it or admit when they learn it; 2) heard of it and have never seen it; 3) seen some of it but don’t know much or how it was truly hidden in the Hula; and 4) heard Lua was concealed in the Hula but have no idea where or how. The islanders carry on the folklore through “talk story” but do not know anything more than that. Michelle as recognized expert of both demonstrates that Hula and Lua have always been kept separate when truly they are one in the same.

In addition, Michelle has worked closely and behind the scenes with Gordon Richiusa in the pre-production of Pieces of Aloha. She is invested in Pieces of Aloha in all facets, from inception until post-production.

Acting on behalf of herself and partner Gordon Richiusa (both deferring and combining costs and responsibilities) Michelle is able to act as legal representative for Pieces of Aloha and Heroes’ Hearts. She has a law degree and several graduate credentials in business, one from Harvard Business School. Michelle has twenty years of law and business experience in state and federal government, private and public companies, as well as a senior consultant. She also works as a mediator and is a highly effective communicator. Michelle has sat on college boards serving as an academic advisory board member and also an instructor in law. She represents several artists in project negotiation, securing ownership rights and intellectual property, and also contractual relationships.