Maui News

MNHCoC Talk Story: Keali‘i Reichel to Speak on Establishing New Hālau Home

July 3, 2018, 12:13 PM HST
* Updated July 5, 10:48 AM
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Kealiʻi Reichel (left) and Koa Hewahewa (right) are featured speakers at MNHCoC dinner July 10, 2018

Koa Hewahewa, Director of Forestry Operations for Hōkūnui Maui, LLC and revered kumu hula Keali‘i Reichel are the featured speakers at the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce’s Talk Story event scheduled to take place at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10 at the Maui Tropical Plantation Tram Station.

Renowned as one of Hawaiʻi’s most popular recording artists, Kealiʻi Reichel is the kumu hula of multi-award winning Hālau Keʻalaokamaile.  Koa Hewahewa oversees forestry operations for Hōkūnui Maui, LLC.

Their presentation will highlight the efforts of Hālau Keʻalaokamaile to create a home and cultural center at Hōkūnui Maui, LLC in the Piʻiholo area of Upcountry Maui.

Keali’i Reichel. Courtesy image.

To deepen their work, the hālau is establishing a home and cultural center and joining in a larger effort
to create a regenerative community on Maui and eventually throughout Hawaiʻi.

The Frost family purchased the 258-acre Hōkūnui Maui property in 2012 after more than a century of the land’s use in sugar and pineapple production. According to Hōkūnui’s website, the company “strives to optimize environmental, social and cultural impacts while operating a financially viable business model, which will sustain itself and expand over time. This we refer to as the Regenerative Quadruple Bottom Line.”


The restoration of Hōkūnui’s native ecosystem links culture and agriculture.  According to
kumu hula Reichel, “It deepens the practices of hālau, because it gets the dancers into the dirt where all of our power comes from. Every chant that we do, everything we chant about, our pule, all has to do
with the forest and with the plants that we chant about. It’s all elemental, that part was separated.
Here, for us, it’s a melding.”

Kealii Reichel. Photo courtesy Maui Arts & Cultural Center.


“I like what Kealiʻi told me about normalizing protocol,” said Hewahewa. “That is a big component that is missing from farming, from a lot of the things we’re doing. Whether it’s construction, hospitality industry, farming—those are run with a Western concept. This project is very different.”

“We are honored that kumu hula Keali‘i Reichel will share with our members his inspirational vision for the hālau and its new home,” said MNHCoC president Teri Freitas Gorman. “Hālau provide beautiful examples of the benefits of culture, commerce and community and the partnership between Hālau Ke‘alaokamaile and Hōkūnui Maui is an example of what can happen when landowners and cultural practitioners see the possibilities inherent in collaboration.”

No-host cocktails and networking will begin at 5:30 pm at that Maui Tropical Plantation Tram Station. Admission is $25 for members and $30 for non-members. Dinner is catered by Ariaʻs Restaurant. RSVP and pay in advance online or call (808) 757-3045 to pay by phone. RSVP by Sunday, July 8, 2018.

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