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Ancient Hula Type Name
Click to hear the pronunciation
Hula Wahi Pana (Dance for legendary or historic places)

 
Further Detail
Hula Wahi Pana comprise a large class of dances that honor places of such emotional, spiritual, historical, or cultural significance that chants were composed for them. Only the composers of the chants could know the deepest meanings, as they would be reflections of their feelings and experiences.

Since the subjects of Wahi Pana compositions are extremely varied, their implementation through hula are as well. Coupled with the differences from one hula style and tradition to the next, Hula Wahi Pana can be exceptionally diverse. They can be done sitting or standing, with limited body movement or wide free movement; with or without the use of implements or instruments; with the dancers themselves chanting and/or playing an implement or being accompanied by the ho`opa`a. Beyond the particular hula tradition, what ultimately determines the manner in which a Hula Wahi Pana is performed are the specific place involved, why it is significant, the story being shared about it, and its importance in the composer's view.

Not all chants written about legendary or historic places are necessarily Hula Wahi Pana. While many are mele hula (chants that are danced), others can be just oli, i.e. chanted, unaccompanied by dancing.

General Body Position: Kü or Noho (Standing or Sitting)
Can be for Game, Pastime, or Sport: No
Implement or Instrument: No

Published Research Sources

Hawaiian Dictionary (Puku`i/Elbert)
- The definition of wahi pana is a "legendary place." There is no listing for "Hula Wahi Pana."

Nä Mele Hula volume 1 (Beamer)
- This Volume contains a section on Hula Wahi Pana with nine chants from pages 42-59. Places honored include Hilo, Kona, Pihanakalani, Nihoa, He`eia, Mämala, Moloka`i, and Waipi`o. Beamer offers background, translation, and her chant melody for each.

Nä Mele Hula volume 2 (Beamer)
- This Volume contains a section on Hula Wahi Pana with six chants from pages 66-74. Specific places honored include Kilohana, Nöhili, Ni`ihau, Ka`ula, and Puna. Beamer offers personal insights, chant backgrounds, and full texts with translation.

Unwritten Literature of Hawai`i (Emerson)
- Hula Wahi Pana itself is not identified as an ancient hula type by Emerson. However, many Wahi Pana chants can be found throughout this book. They are not explicitly identified as such, but rather woven into the descriptions of other hula types.

Hula Pahu volume 1 (Kaeppler)
- Hula Wahi Pana itself is not identified as an ancient hula type in this Volume, however, a number of Wahi Pana chants (mele pana) are contained in its pages. For direction to chants, see "Index of Chant Titles" at back of book.

Hula Pahu volume 2 (Tatar)
- Hula Wahi Pana itself is not identified as an ancient hula type in this Volume, however, a number of Wahi Pana chants (mele pana) are contained in its pages. For direction to chants, see "Index of Chant Titles" at back of book.

Sacred Hula: The Historical Hula `Äla`apapa (Stillman)
- Page 20 references two "Mele Pana," namely "He moku Ka`ula" and "`Ike I Ka Wai `Ula," and Appendix A notes available sound recordings of each. Page 27 defines "Mele Pana" as "songs about places" and notes that such chants are common for Hula `Ölapa.


Additional Notes
Please see "Published Sources" section above for greater detail on where to find documented research on this Hula Type.

Please also consult the "Kupuna" section at bottom to read and hear what our elders have to share.

Visuals:

Related Chants
He Moku Ka`ula (The island Ka`ula)
Ho`i Kealoha i Ni`ihau (Love returns to Ni`ihau)
 

Related Implements/Instruments
`Ülili (Spinning gourd rattle)
Papa Hehi a me Käla`au (Treadleboard with hand sticks)
 

Related Küpuna
Beamer, Nona Kapuailohiamanonokalani Desha
Holokai, George Ainsley Kananiokeakua
 
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