Maui Arts & Entertainment

Hula kiʻi, rare Hawaiian dance of carved puppetry, to be showcased Sunday at MACC

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Kumu Auliiʻs hula kiʻi tradition is one of only three known living traditions that performs the dance using hand-carved wooden images. PC: Courtesy MACC

Hula kiʻi, a rare Hawaiian ritual dance of carved puppetry images, will be showcased from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday at Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s McCoy Studio Theater.

Tickets are $25 plus fees. Children 12 and younger are half price. The performance is tied to the ‘Ike Kanaka exhibition at MACC’s Schaefer International Gallery. Attendees to the hula ki’i will have an opportunity to join a private walkthrough event of the exhibition after the performance.

Kumu Aulii’s hula kiʻi tradition is the only one of three known living traditions that performs the dance using hand-carved wooden images, a MACC news release said. This special event will feature him and members of Hālau ʻo Kahiwahiwa as they share the stories and dances of this art form.


Hula kiʻi survived through the intelligence of the early loea hula (hula experts) and tell the story of Hawai‘i’s great chiefs and chiefesses, the news release added. While little was ever written about the art of Hawaiian puppetry, there remain limited references and evidence in museums today, including early documented eyewitness accounts of hula kiʻi performances.

For tickets and more information, visit the MACC website. The ‘Ike Kanaka exhibition features 10 Kanaka ʻŌiwi artists through March 18. 


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