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About HPS

Meet our küpuna
HPS Interview Process Featured küpuna HPS Historic Timeline

Hale Pulelehua
To learn more about HPS's rental dance studio, Hale Pulelehua, click here


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The group of elders HPS works with is unique in that these küpuna were generally raised by men and women who lived during the time of the recognized Hawaiian Kingdom, spoke their mother tongue, and lived a Hawaiian life. As such, they represent the last living link to a tremendously significant time in our history. Further, their upbringing, coupled with their lives in hula during a century of tremendous change, offer incomparable insight into what it was like to be a Hawaiian practitioner in the 19th and 20th centuries. We are so lucky that they are still here to share their mana`o with us!

The küpuna we work with fall within two general categories described below. (Keep in mind that the elder listing at bottom does not yet reflect these important categories or show all the dozens of küpuna we have worked with to date. It is simply an alphabetical listing of a select number of küpuna going back to 2002. This is part of the web redesign that needs to be done to make this section more useful and flexible.)

Nä Kumu Hula (Hula Masters)

Nä Pua o Nä Loea Hula (Students of Hula Experts)

Many of the küpuna we work with are Kumu Hula who collectively embody commitment to perpetuating our Hawaiian culture. As they are all in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, they are men and women who devoted their lives to hula when it was difficult to do so. Trained traditionally but needing to make a living in a changing Hawai`i, they successfully carried on ancient traditions by weaving them into their daily work through their own Hula Studios and entertaining the increasing numbers of visitors and military to the islands. Most importantly though, they have given their lives to teaching hula to hundreds and thousands of us. For that gift, we are forever indebted.

Another group of küpuna that HPS has been privileged to come to know are elders whose lives have involved hula in significant ways. Some were born of hula and music families, shaping their upbringing and grounding their cultural knowledge. Others studied with hula masters no longer with us and have vivid memories of those experiences. Some became accomplished solo dancers and Hollywood film starts, while still others became skilled in unique hula forms, such as comic hula. This group of capable and varied practitioners gives us a more broad perspective of the many ways that hula was taught and shared within families, in small remote communities, between islands, and beyond the island chain. Most notably, all were trained and mentored by late hula greats including `Iolani Luahine, Emma Sharpe, Rose Kuamo`o, Helen Desha Beamer, and Mary Kawena Püku`i, to name just a few.

Click here to find out more about the HPS interview process.

We hope you enjoy spending time with these true treasures of Hawai`i.

   Akoi, Rhea
   Beamer, Nona Kapuailohiamanonokalani Desha
   Bekeart, Edna Pualani Farden
   Daniel, Lorraine Käheamalani Kahele Joshua
   Furtado, Eleanor Leilehua Becker
   Ghirard, Kent
   Holokai, George Ainsley Kananiokeakua
   Kauhi, Emma Kapünohu`ulaokalani
   Klein, Mae Kamämalu
   Kunewa, Blossom Keli`i`aukai Kahele Joshua
   Lindsey, Joan Na`u`oeokalikookalanialoha Sniffen
   McKinzie, Edith Kawelohea
   Nä`ope, George Lanakilakeikiahiali`i
   Park, Alice Pulu`elo Naipo
   Ventura Dowsett, Queenie
   Yung, Myrtle Kapolilaua`eomakana Maluö

If you know of a kupuna born before 1932 whom you think HPS should talk with, you can let us know by using our Feedback form, or sending us an email at We welcome your input.

Mahalo to the Atherton Family Foundation for supporting this preservation work since 2001.

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