Nearly 400 participants attended an Open House for Hālau of 'Ōiwi Art on UH Maui College’s Great Lawn, this past Saturday evening, July 30. Community members mingled with na kumu hula (hula teachers), their haumāna (students), project architects and Maui County officials to talk about the project planned for Wailuku Town.
“We have parks for baseball, pickleball, tennis, and schools, but we’ve never had something for our hālau, yet hula is what we share with the world,” said Mayor Michael Victorino in his opening remarks. “There were those who suppressed the Hawaiian culture, but now our kanaka maoli will have the recognition that hula is the gift we send throughout the world. We need to make sure we take care of it right here at home.”
Na kumu hula honored Mayor Michael Victorino with a certificate of appreciation for all he has done, and continues to do, in support of Hawaiian culture. “If it were not for Mayor Victorino, we would not have gotten as far as we have,” said Kumu Hula and educator Dr. Hokulani Holt. “There were enough people that wanted this to happen. So, having the County of Maui and all of the people who approved the budget, it was very moving to us that they would support hula and ʻōiwi art in this way.”
At the open house, ʻōiwi artists exhibited handiwork in kapa (tapa cloth), hulu (feathers), along with displays by Hawaiian clothing designers, native plants, hula supplies and demonstrations of lomilomi (massage). Participants also enjoyed performances by Hālau Hula ‘O Ka Mālama Mahilani and Hālau ‘O Ka Hanu Lehua.
Planned as a Hawaiian cultural center for our community and the world, Hālau of 'Ōiwi Art will be a collaborative space for hula, its associated arts and agathering place for the community to learn, practice, enjoy and create in downtown Wailuku. The County of Maui budgeted $43 million and last week the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved $11 million in funding construction of the cultural center. When complete, Hālau of 'Ōiwi Art will be the first of its kind in the world. For more information, click here.