The Hula Community Rises Up


Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Hello friends of this newspaper column. Good news. Directories of cultural practitioners and artists will be republished by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). In the 1990s, three directories were printed: Kū Mai Ka Poʻe Hula (1993), Ola Nā Iwi (1995), and Nā Lima Mikioi (1997). At this time, all three will be published on People will be able to search on the website for those who are perpetuating the Hawaiian culture.

Kū Mai Ka Poʻe Hula (1993). In the 1990s Kumu Hula Manu Boyd, an employee of OHA at the time, collected the names of hula people for this directory. This directory, however, was not just for hula educators. The names of hula competitions and exhibitions, as well as those who were associated with hula such as drum carvers and other musical instruments such as feather gourd rattles, split-bamboo rattles, bamboo stamping pipes, double gourd drums, etc.

Photo: Hōkūlani Holt
Hōkūlani Holt – Courtesy Photos
Photo: ʻUlalia Woodside Lee
ʻUlalia Woodside Lee

Hōkūlani Holt is one of the kumu hula in the first issue of Kū Mai Ka Poʻe Hula. Hōkū is the hula master of Pāʻū o Hiʻiaka, the hula academy she started on Maui in 1976. She was instructed by Hoakalei Kamauʻu but her first hula master was her mother, Leiana Long Woodside. The Long family is a hula family from Paukūkalo so Hōkū learned her hula traditions from her grandmother, Ida Pakulani Kaʻaihue Kaiʻanui Long and her aunt, Kāhili Long Cummings. Hōkū not only instructs in her hālau but she has broadened and extended her hula knowledge to create the hula competition on Maui called “Kū Mai ka Hula.”

In 1997, Hōkū and Pua Kanahele along with Leinaʻala Kalama Heine established the Lālākea Foundation as a way to support and plan for the Worldwide Conference on Hula. Here is more that she has done. She founded Kuahea Inc., the group responsible for gathering various kumu hula into Kinimakalehua for the purpose of producing new hula exhibits and shows for the public. This group has produced such shows such as “Kahekili,””Māui,” “Kūlanihākoʻi,”and others.

Photo: Lono Padilla
Lono Padilla

One member of Kinimakalehua was Lono Padilla, the son of Hōkūlani Holt. Lono is one of the new kumu hula in the directory Kū Mai ka Poʻe Hula. He was the choreographer for “Kahekili” and the chief producer of “Home: Inside & Out,” which was supported by the National Museum of the American Indian’s Expressive Arts. He graduated as a kumu hula with his mother Hōkū in 2008 along with his cousin, Ulalia Woodside Lee. He now heads his own hālau, Hiʻiakanāmakalehua, with Keʻano Kapu, and has captured many awards at the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. Lono’s story will be in the new version of the directory.

Photo: Maelia Loebenstein Carter
Maelia Loebenstein Carter

Another Long family member is in Kū Mai ka Poʻe Hula. She is Maelia Kahanuola Lobenstein Carter whose first kumu hula was her grandmother, Mae Ulalia Long Loebenstein. Her grandmother’s kumu hula was Ida Pakulani Kaʻaihue Kaiʻanui Long of Paukūkalo, the same ancestor of both Hōkūlani, Lono, and Ulalia. If you read the stories in the directory. You will see the truth in the saying that the hula world is one family.

If you are a kumu hula, hula event or competition organizer, or hula instrument maker, and would like your story in Kū Mai ka Poʻe Hula II on Papakilo, just email me at and I will send you an application.