Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola Returns To Hilo

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More than 1,200 kumu hula and hula practitioners are expected to gather for the 5th Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola, which returns to Hawai‘i Island for the first time since 2001.

Celebrating all things hula, the conference will be held in Hilo from June 14 to 23. ‘Aha Hula features hands-on workshops, presentations and lectures, hula classes, evening performances and huaka‘i excursions to sacred, historic and cultural sites around Hawai‘i Island.

Presented by Lālākea Foundation, Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola is founded on the Pele and Hi‘iaka Saga and follows Hi‘iaka’s travels throughout Hawai‘i.

Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola was the vision of Kumu Hula Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, Kumu Hula Hōkūlani Holt-Padilla and the late Kumu Hula Leina‘ala Kalama Heine. They understood that hula is the most recognizable Hawaiian cultural practice and is performed throughout Hawai‘i and around the world. Their intent was to elevate and expand the cultural foundation for hula practitioners by creating an opportunity to gather, share their knowledge and learn from each other.

The first Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola was held in Hilo in 2001. In 2005, the gathering was hosted on Maui, then on O‘ahu in 2009 and on Kaua‘i in 2014. Each gathering provided opporunities for hula practitioners to increase their knowledge and foundation of the mo‘olelo, wahi pana and ‘ike of mele and ‘oli that were created and written for the island.

Photo: Male Hula Dancer
Ho‘oulu Laka Protocol Training Workshop, Kumu Hula Pele Kaio, Hilo.
Photo: Hula Dancers
Ho‘oulu Laka Protocol Training Workshop, San Francisco, California.

On Hawai‘i Island, Nā Ponohula workshops will offer hands-on instruction by prominent cultural artists. These 2-1/2 day classes are offered from June 14 to 16. Classes on making lapaiki, ipu heke, koko pu‘alu and haki haki.

‘Aha Wehena opening ceremonies will be held on Sunday, June 17 at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium. Workshops will be hosted at County of Hawai‘i’s Ho‘oulu Complex, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Ka Haka ‘Ula Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language. Huaka‘i to several sites around the island are scheduled for June 19 and 21. Evening performances at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium begin at 7 p.m from June 18 through 22. A special performance by Lālākea Foundation will be presented on Friday, June 23 at UHH’s Performing Arts Theater. Tickets are required. The ‘Aha Panina Closing Ceremony and Hō‘ike will be held on Saturday, June 24. The ‘Aha Wehena opening ceremony and evening performances at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium are free and open to the public.

Hula and ‘oli protocol training for participants in the ‘Aha Wehena are scheduled in Hawai‘i and on the U.S. Continent in April and May. Please check the website at kahoh.org for specific information.

Registration is now open for Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola at kahoh.org. Costs are $250 for keiki (6-12 years old), $350 for kūpuna and $450 for Nā Lehulehu. Keiki under 6 are free. Nā Ponohula is $250 and attendees must be registered for the ‘Aha Hula. For more information: contact KAHOH office at (808) 765-9581 and ask for Dr. Noe Noe Wong-Wilson or Kamaka Gunderson,

Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola is co-sponsored by University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Hawai‘i Community College, and Hawai‘i Papa O Ke Ao Initiative. Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola is also supported by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, State Foundation on Culture and Arts, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, and the County of Hawai‘i.

Watch a playlist of videos from Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola.