Ka Pā Hula Ka Lei Maile Hi’ilani was launched on 7 March 2013 as the Singapore branch of Hālau Ka Lei Kukui Hi’ilani on Kaua’i in Hawai’i. We are led by Alaka’i Namiko Takahashi Chan-Lee under the direction of Kumu Hula Leihi’ilani Kirkpatrick.
Ka Lei Kukui Hi’ilani literally means “the kukui lei held in the arms of heaven”; this references the candlenut, whose oily white kernels were traditionally used for lighting. The candlenut tree therefore symbolises enlightenment; light also symbolises guidance and leadership. Our hālau name therefore alludes to “the varied backgrounds and rich experiences of every dancer who willingly shares, through hula, the significant meanings of the mele to which we dance”.
Ka Pā Hula literally means “the hula enclosure” and indicates a hula school that operates under the auspices of an official higher authority — in our case, Kumu Lei and her hālau on Kau’ai.
Ka Lei Maile Hi’ilani literally means “the maile lei held in the arms of heaven”. The maile we reference is the maile lau li’ili’i, the small-leafed variety that is endemic to Kaua’i. Maile is fragrant, and usually multiple strands of the vines are twined together in the making of a lei.
Our school name, Ka Pā Hula Ka Lei Maile Hi’ilani, therefore speaks of unity, of many parts coming together to form a whole; of being fragrant, of carrying the savour and spirit of aloha and hula as ambassadors; and of our link with Kumu Lei and the hālau on Kaua’i.
In line with Kumu Lei and the hālau:
Our mission is to learn, preserve, and perpetuate cultural integrity in all aspects of Hawaiian hula, traditions, history and language, and to honor and glorify Ke Akua in all He has given us.
Our goals are to provide opportunities for continued training, to expand and maintain cultural knowledge, and to establish effective and loving communication through the practice of Biblical and Hawaiian values: Aloha, Lokahi, ‘Oia’i’o, Ha’aha’a and Ahonui.
Our vision is for na ‘olapa (dancers) to come together in lokahi (unity) and aloha (love) in order to nurture, express, and bring to light the meanings of both mele and hula. That expression needs to well up from our na’au (mind, heart) and radiate outward.