Photo: Hawaiian Music Perpetuation Society President Kuʻuipo Kumukahi
Hawaiian Music Perpetuation Society President Kuʻuipo Kumukahi (pictured far right) is also the director of Hawaiian Culture and Community Relations at the Hyatt Regency Waikīkī Resort and Spa. - Photo: Hyatt Regency Waikīkī Beach Resort and Spa

NaHHA would like to share a feature from Jeninne Heleloa, one of our “Lamakū Hoʻokipa” (beacons of hospitality) who is making a positive impact through the perpetuation of Hawaiian music and cultural activities, and as a contributing member of the Native Hawaiian community.

By Jeninne Heleloa

The Hawaiian Music Perpetuation Society (HMPS) is a community-based nonprofit organization founded in 2020. Our mission is to preserve, promote, and perpetuate mele Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian music) – its traditions, history, and wahi pana (storied places).

Kuʻuipo Kumukahi is at the helm of the organization as the president of HMPS and serves as the director of Hawaiian Culture and Community Relations at the Hyatt Regency Waikīkī Beach Resort and Spa. Her mother kindled her love of music at a young age, nurturing her gift and buying her an ʻukulele and guitar while encouraging her to “sing, not just play.”

Over the years, Kumukahi and her friends had ongoing conversations focused on not just Hawaiian music and how to preserve it, but more importantly, how it could be perpetuated.

Feeling the need to do something for the community and, in their first of many such activities, they took a drive out to Waimānalo, rolled up into the homestead on the back of a pick-up truck, parade style, with several musician friends.

The response from the community was overwhelming. Not only did hundreds come out to the roadside to enjoy, but many others began following them on Facebook. They knew they were on to something after this first “Mele on the Move” event, they conducted several others in other homestead communities, eventually paving the way to turn their passion for mele Hawaiʻi into a nonprofit organization.

Today, HMPS has partnerships with the Department of Education, Partners In Development Foundation, NaHHA, and a growing number of Hawaiian music talent. “Our hope is that we will encourage our young people to write more songs about the lands of their special places so that they can connect back to the history of place. As we sing, we find connection to each other and our connection to Hawaiʻi and ʻāina,” shared Kumukahi.

HMPS provides the working hands at Hoʻokela Hawaiian Heritage and Culture Center a space on the former estate of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole in the wahi pana (storied place) of famous Pualeilani, a royal residence long remembered in mele Hawaiʻi.


For more information and a list of current activities visit: www.hawaiianmusicperpetuationsociety.com/hookela

Jeninne Heleloa is the executive director of the Hawaiian Music Perpetuation Society. She leads a team that focuses on Hawaiian cultural activities, keiki education, kūpuna, community and artist engagement. For more information and ways to participate, support or kōkua, contact jeninne.heleloa@hmpshawaii.com.