Haumana prepare for entry to the hula platform of Ke Ahu a Laka at Ka Ulu A Paoa Heiau at Ke`e, Ha`ena on Kaua`i
Copyright Photo by Kat Ho
Halau Palaihiwa O Kaipuwai is a traditional hula school established on Kaua`i in 1945 by the late hula master, Helen Kaipuwai Kekua Waiau. Deeply rooted in the customary practices of hula associated with Ka Ulu A Lono, Ke`olewa and Ka Ulu A Paoa, the halau continues under the direction of Kumu Hula, Kehaulani Kekua, the founder's granddaughter. Her primary objective is to perpetuate her familyʻs hula legacy as a traditional discipline and art form of cultural excellence.
Kehaulani Kekua has studied hula all of her life. Her formal introduction to hula began at the early age of two with her grandmother as her first kumu hula. As the hiapo or firstborn, she was reared in the tradition of hanai - freely given to be raised and groomed in hula by her maternal grandmother. Although Mrs. Waiau would serve as Kehaulani's primary hula source, she was adamant that her grand-daughter be exposed to other kumu to further her training.
Her other teachers also include the late hula masters, Joseph Kamoha`i Kahaulelio, and Leina`ala Kalama Heine. Kēhaulani has also had the privilege of formal training in chant and other aspects of Hawaiian culture, protocol and ceremony with master kumu such as Mahinake`oke`o Kelley, Pualani Kanaka`ole Kanahele and Hokulani Holt. Her foundation as a kumu hula and cultural practitioner has been made firm through the teachings of these collective sources of wisdom and knowledge.
Dedicated to her culture and community, Kumu Kehaulani Kekua has served on many boards and non-profit organizations including: Ka`ie`ie Foundation, Lalakea Foundation, `Ilio`ulaokalani, the Kaua`i Historic Preservation Review Commission, Kaua`i Historical Society, and the Anaina Hou Community Park. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Kaipuwai Foundation.
She was elected by her kumu hula peers as the Conference Director for Ka `Aha Hula `O Halauaola - the 4th World Conference on Hula which was held on Kaua`i in July 2014. Along with members of her halau, they completed the Halauaola circuit by participating, presenting and performing at the 5th and Final World Conference on Hula in June 2018 in Hilo, Hawai`i. Halau Palaihiwa O Kaipuwai also represented Kaua`i Island with designated halau from O`ahu, Maui and Hawai`i Island in the signature performance of "Ku`u Lei O Hi`iaka".
Kumu Kehaulani has also served as a judge for hula competitions including, the Kaua`i Mokihana Festival, Kumukahi `Ukulele & Music Festival, Hula O Na Keiki on Maui, and the All Japan Hula Championships in Tokyo. Most recently, she and the halau represented the island of Kaua`i in collaboration with kumu hula and halau from the Hawaiian Island Chain to deliver traditional protocols for the opening and closing ceremonies of the IUCN World Conservation Congress held in Honolulu in September 2016.
The halau serves as the principal element and repository of traditional knowledge and practices that informs and inspires the greater vision and mission of the Kaipuwai Foundation.
Halau Palaihiwa O Kaipuwai makes its home at Studio HA`A in Kapa`a, on Kaua`i Island in Hawai`i.
4558 Kukui Street Kapa`a, Kaua`i, HI 96746
Conveniently located .25 mile from the Kapa`a
Bypass Roundabout, Skatepark & Athletic Complex
A traditional hula school established on Kaua`i in 1945 by the late hula master, Helen Kaipuwai Kekua Waiau