Friday, June 9, 2017 at Maui Arts and Cultural Center, McCoy Studio Theater
“Pua Kanahele is the Harvard of Hawaiʻi. Through her brilliant analysis we enter the astonishing world of our ancestors.”
– Lilikalā Kame’eleihiwa
On Friday, June 9th, The Merwin Conservancy presented an evening with renowned Hawaiian spiritual leader Dr. Pualani Kanakaka‘ole-Kanahele, whose lifetime accomplishments as a kumu hula, writer, educator, musician, and dedicated community leader make her a very sought-after speaker and cultural consultant. Dr. Kanahele was the guest of honor at this installment of The Green Room, an environmental and literary salon series on Maui that is hosted by the Conservancy and fosters a reverence for language, nature, and imagination.
Dr. Pualani Kanahele had shared that her talk will be about the Kumulipo. In Pualani’s exact words, the Kumulipo is “a mele ko‘ihonua (genealogical chant). It is a remembrance from the lipo (dark depth) of our deep past to the lipo of our unknown future. It heralds existence from dawn to dawn or the numerous beginnings and endings. The Kumulipo acknowledges the walewale as the earth matter from which all forms have ascended. The fundamental images, thoughts, forms and shapes from walewale evolved and increased into familial patterns. It is the organic inception of all family systems.”
This was a rare experience that you didn’t want to miss.
Born in Keaukaha on the Big Island, Dr. Pualani Kanaka‘ole-Kanahele (“Pua”) was reared in the traditions of her ancestors and has been highly influential in the resurgence of Hawaiian practices and interest in all things Hawaiian.
Daughters of the late hula and chant master Edith Kanaka‘ole, Pua and her sister Nalani have led the world-renowned classical Hawaiian cultural dance and hula group Halau o Kekuhi. In 1995, Pua co-wrote and directed the first opera-length stage hula drama, Holo Mai Pele, based on the Hawaiian literary saga of Pele and Hi‘iaka. She co-directed the film version for PBS’s Great Performance series. The production won a 2001 CINE Award-Golden Eagle for excellence in film production. Among her many audio books and articles is Puka Kama‘ehu, a compact disk recording nominated in the Hawaiian Music Category for the 2005 Grammy Awards.
A much sought-after speaker, panelist and expert cultural consultant, she was invited by the Dalai Lama to speak on the subject of world peace in 1994 and was the Hawai‘i representative for the UNESCO advisory committee on native cultures and intellectual property rights in 1999.
This evening was generously presented by FIM Group.
Photos by Bryan Berkowitz