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
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
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.
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|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome your input.
to the Atherton Family Foundation for supporting this preservation
work since 2001.