Maui Hālau Celebrates 15 Years with Hō‘ike, June 9
The sound of more than 30 chanters and pahu drums will reverberate throughout Baldwin Auditorium to open the 15th-anniversary celebration of a Central Maui-based hula hālau.
Nā Hanona Kulike ʻO Piʻilani marks one and a half decades on the Valley Isle with a hōʻike at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 9, 2018. Tickets at $25 are available at the hālau website or by calling (808) 249-2421.
Co-kumu hula Kaponoʻai Molitau and Sissy Lake-Farm lead Nā Hanona Kulike ʻO Piʻilani. The hānai siblings carry on the legacy of hula master Maiki Aiu Lake, and of their late father and Maui native and master chanter/kumu hula John Keolamakaʻainanakalahuiokalanikamehamehaʻekolu Lake. With the theme “Ku No Ke Ewe” (true to one’s family traits), the hōʻike will feature chant, hula — both kahiko, or traditional, and ʻauana, or modern — by keiki, ʻōpio (youth), wahine, kāne and kupuna or elders.
“This is what we what we know,” Molitau said. “This is our legacy . . . from where we come from. That in itself is huge,” he said.
Over a 15-year span, the hālau has provided community workshops in making lei hulu, or feather garlands; pōhaku kuʻi ʻai, or stone poi pounders; ipu heke (twin-gourd drums), and other hula implements. A yearly hālau fundraiser offers holiday-season wreaths of native foliage. Nā Hanona Kulike ʻO Piʻilani students made a 2008 pilgrimage to ʻAotearoa, or New Zealand; then hosted Maori students on a reciprocal cultural exchange to Hawaiʻi and Maui islands. And Nā Hanona Kulike ʻO Piʻilani has led annual protocol and rites, including unprecedented ʻawa (kava) ceremonies led by wahine, at Puʻu Koholā Heiau National Historic Site at Kawaihae on Hawaiʻi island.
Three weeks after the hōʻike, 80 hālau students and ʻohana (family) members will travel June 30 to July 15 to Tahiti and Rapa Nui, or Easter Island. The 15th-anniversary trip will culminate with a cultural pilgrimage to Taputapuatea — the mother heiau, or temple, in the Pacific. There, chanters will recreate hula and oli (chants) they have been learning and practicing with pahu and lapaʻiki (large and small drums), pūniu (knee drums) and ipu heke for one year.
“After 15 years of hālau, we’re at a benchmark,” Lake-Farm said. “We’re looking now at the next step of perpetuation and legacy, (of) grooming haumana (students) and others to know and to help paepae (support) and kākoʻo (guide) our efforts so that those things can continue to live.”
She discussed ʻuniki, or traditional graduation rites, to various ranks that allow one’s cultural training and expertise to reverberate throughout the community.
There are “viable candidates within hālau that can help to maintain our hoʻoilina (heritage) and our legacy of hālau, (and to) be the representatives of us and then continue those legacies,” said Lake-Farm. “We have one papa ʻuniki (graduation class). I’m sure in the near future — after we’ve accomplished the 15-year anniversary — we can start looking towards the future and the ones who will be the next crop of candidates for ʻuniki.
“So it’s a very exciting time,” she concluded. “We’ve worked really, really hard, and we’re really grateful for the support and love of our haumana and the extended ʻohana of Nā Hanona Kulike ʻO Piʻilani.”