Wednesday, March 04, 2015
since 2013 by:
Our Haumana (Students)
Music Releases: CDs
Ku Mai Ka Hula - Maui
Merrie Monarch - Hilo
2012 Road to Merrie Monarch
2010 Road to Merrie Monarch
2009 Road to Merrie Monarch
2007 Road to Merrie Monarch
What is the Kauakoko Foundation
What is the Kauakoko Foundation
Kauakoko Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization with a simple mission: to preserve, perpetuate and educate in matters relating to Hawaiian arts and culture, specifically the art of hula. Formed as a 501(c)(3) Public Charity in 2001, it fulfills its mission by supporting the activities of its sister organization, Hälau I Ka Wëkiu, which has the same mission.
A HÄLAU IS BORN
, -Hälau I Ka Wëkiu was created in March 1998 out of a passion for the art of hula by its kumu, Karl Veto Baker and Michael Lanakila Casupang, both of whom studied under kumu hula Robert Cazimero. Veto trained with Robert since 1974 as one of the six initial members of Hälau Nä Kamalei and Lanakila since 1983. Their talent and dedication to hula was recognized by Robert and they both graduated in 1995 through traditional ‘üniki rites. The 50 plus years of study between them provides a solid foundation of knowledge and experience for Hälau I Ka Wëkiu. Both kumu are proud of their hula genealogy and seek to preserve and perpetuate the protocol, values and style of hula handed down by Robert and his kumu, Aunty Mä’iki Aiu Lake and, before her, Lokälia Montgomery, Mary Kawena Püku’i, Pat Nämaka Bacon and others through seven generations.
WORDS TO LIVE BY,
-Aunty Mä’iki was known for her saying, “Hula is life, expressing all that we see, hear, smell, taste and feel” because the values learned in hula manifest all that is important in the Hawaiian culture. Indeed, Veto and Lanakila use the values taught in hula in all aspects of their lives and all facets of the hälau are carefully considered and have special meaning and connection to those values. A mortgage banking manager by day, it’s not unusual for Veto to carry his ‘ukulele to work and use an ‘oli in his presentations. Lanakila’s “day job” is teaching hula for Mid-Pacific Institute so he naturally uses the same values and teachings at the school that he incorporates in hälau. Students are encouraged to live by Hälau I Ka Wëkiu’s motto:
Ua hana 'ia a pono a pololei All that I do, I do in rightness (righteousness)
Ua ha'ina 'ia aku nö iä 'oe All that I say, I say in truth
(taken from the chant Kaulïlua I Ke Anu o Wai'ale'ale)
TO PERPETUATE, YOU MUST EDUCATE,
-Education is critical to preserving and perpetuating the Hawaiian culture and ‘imi ‘ike (to seek knowledge) is an important value for Hälau I Ka Wëkiu. The hälau logo – three triangular shapes in graduated sizes – represents mountain peaks, signifying the learning philosophy: as the haumäna (students) reach one goal or summit (wëkiu), they strive for the next, always progressing, always growing. Through the many classes offered by Hälau I Ka Wëkiu, the kumu impart knowledge to a wide range of ages, from keiki to young women and men, to küpuna women, a class known as the Nä Lei Hiwahiwa (the precious lei). The kumu also sponsor and participate in several workshops each year. All students learn to chant as well as dance and a portion of every class is dedicated to understanding the traditions, legends, and meaning behind the dances and chants. Education and learning for Hälau I Ka Wëkiu extends beyond the class time as well. To develop and perpetuate the skills important in hula, students are given assignments to make implements like pahu, ipu, ‘ulï’ulï, or lei hulu (feather lei). Students make all of the skirts, küpe’e and lei used in performances, and often dye and print the fabric for their pa’ü or malo using the same flowers and plants used in ancient times.
Teaching older women was important to both kumu. They wanted to give women who might not have had a chance to learn in their youth – before the renaissance of hula – an opportunity to learn and treasure this way of life. In fact, recognizing the importance of chanting in the Hawaiian culture and in hula, Lanakila and Veto were among the first kumu to make the effort to teach kupuna to chant and learn kahiko, confident they could do it and benefit from the experience
MÄLAMA I KA ‘ÄINA,
-Respect and love for the ‘äina pervades much of the kumu’s activities. A profound example of this is reflected in how their home (which includes the hälau) was built. In 2001 when the land was first purchased, it resembled a dump, with two dilapidated houses and tons of trash and junk strewn about. After months and months of nights and weekend work, and, with the help of friends, family, and hälau members, the land was finally cleared of rubbish. But before the kumu would even think about building, they wanted to give back to the land and restore its original beauty. They built the hula mound and planted indigenous Hawaiian plants and trees on the entire lot before building even one foot of the house. Only when the land was returned to its splendor – the gem Veto envisioned even amid the trash – did the building of the house begin. Students did the research on and donated many of the trees and plants as gifts.
The love for the land continues today. Lanakila and Veto encourage their students to grow Hawaiian plants and trees, and give freely of their knowledge and cuttings to get new growth started. Many of the hälau’s song ideas come from nature and the visual facets of the hälau, like the logo, are the result of the kumu discovering hö’ailona (signs) in nature. Every month hälau members participate in community service by mowing the lawn and cleaning up Queen Liliÿuokalani’s former garden, ‘Uluhaimalama - another opportunity to give back to the land. On every huaka’i or excursion that the hälau takes to further their study, homage is paid to the ‘äina, usually by visiting sacred places where chants and dances are performed. Students and kumu dance barefoot on the land so they can feel her essence, her mana.
-Like their kumu before them, Veto and Lanakila take each class on a huaka’i for 3-4 days every year. The place is thoughtfully chosen and the agenda carefully planned by the kumu. The destination could be a competition like Merrie Monarch, or to a neighbor island to visit special places of significance to the hälau or the Hawaiian culture. Sometimes the destination is a complete surprise and only revealed at the airport when tickets are distributed! To prepare for these trips students learn dances and chants about the places being visited, and sometimes are assigned research projects on those places, which is then presented while on the trip. As with many of the special events for the hälau, these trips are often memorialized in a song or ‘oli preserving an oral chronicle of the experience. The kumu emphasize that it is the journey leading up to and including these trips that is important, not the competition or destination itself. Their goal with each huaka’i is to create one of life’s moments, full of memories – and relationships - that will last a lifetime.
-All students participate annually in the hälau hö’ike, presenting the dances and chants they’ve been working on with friends and family at a big picnic with plenty of food and fun and games. It’s a time to share and say mahalo to the families for all the time spent in hälau and all their support. Students and kumu also work very hard on the annual fundraising show each year, normally held at Hawaii Theatre, to raise funds to support the hälau’s activities. This is when the kumu’s creativity and talent really shine. They pick a theme and highlight the students in a variety of song and dance. Veto’s exquisite singing voice and Lanakila’s gifted piano playing are also featured. Both are talented musicians and dancers as well as composers, and they draw on that talent to produce a delightful show every year.
HARD BUT REWARDING,
-The huaka’i, hö’ike and performances are a LOT of work, especially for the kumu. Planning the show, paying meticulous attention to the details, making the costumes, attending extra rehearsals – all of this is hard work and very time consuming. Because of their passion for hula, their pride in the Hawaiian culture, and their high expectations, the kumu can be quite demanding. But the trips and shows are also unique and memorable experiences with lots of laughter as well as learning. They generate tremendous closeness and friendship among the students and with the kumu. The bonds formed with each event strengthen and unify the hälau. These connections – to the culture and to each other - are the rewards for being a part of Hälau I Ka Wëkiu.
YOU CAN BE A PART OF HÄLAU I KA WEKIU!
Our mission may be simple but its execution is not easy or inexpensive. You can help! Join a class, attend the fundraising show, donate your time or talent. In-kind gifts and monetary contributions are also very much appreciated. To donate, please complete the following form and return it to the Foundation at the address indicated, or give it to one of the friendly, hard working hälau members! You won’t be put on any mailing list, but we will mail you a letter acknowledging your tax-deductible contribution for your tax records. Your contribution will go a long way in preserving and perpetuating this magnificent culture and art.
Your name___________________________________ Amount of Donation $___________
Description of In-Kind
Please mail to: Kauakoko Foundation, 394 ‘Auwaiolimu St, Honolulu, HI 96813
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