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History of Hālau Hula

I Kona Mau Lima

Kumu Ualani

Kumu Kehaulani

Hālau I Kona Mau Lima came in to being as an entity in the year 2000. Prior to that it had been a hui, started at the request of some of Kumu Ualani’s students when she was teaching a Hula class at what was then the Maui Community College.


During her own journey through Hula, Ualani was made a Kumu by her Kumu and Hālau hula I Kona Mau Lima was born.


Over the years Kumu Ua staged a number of Ho’ike for friends and family and kept true to the motto of the Hālau, to dance with purpose and passion. She has inspired her students in this belief throughout her hula life and beyond.


In 2000 the Hālau moved to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center and continued with the same group that had been with Ua at the college and in time expanded to include men as well.


Most of the men and some of the women came from the Maui County Correctional Center. The MCCC warden had encouraged a hula program for the inmates, both male and female. Through this program and their current Kumu they performed  “Voices of the Heart”. A show that included their personal stories and Hula. Shortly after this, the Kumu for the prison passed away and Kumu Ualani was asked to take over until someone else could be found.


This turned out to be a calling for her and she dedicated herself and her Hālau to the men and women of the MCCC for the next 8 years. She believed totally in her students and welcomed them into I Kona Mau Lima once they were released. During this time she was very active in preparing her students to participate in The Kū Mai Ka Hula competition every year. She believed that Hula gave her students dedication, determination, and discipline and incorporated all three in her preparations for Kū Mai Ka Hula. During this time she was also asked by Hokulani Holt to prepare her MCCC students to perform hula in “The Queen’s Story”. A  production telling of the life of Queen Liliuokalani.


In 2006 the Hālau was delivered a terrible blow. Kumu Ua was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent treatment and seemed to have beaten it. Sadly 8 years later she was diagnosed again with breast cancer but this time it was stage 4.


She continued to teach and also staged a Ho’ike in 2016.  The last year of her life was a struggle and the Hālau met anyway to show her their support. She continued to come to Hālau when she could and then finally in April, 2017 we lost her to the cancer.


With the help and advice of Hokulani Holt,  Hālau I Kona Mau Lima continues under the leadership of Kumu Kehaulani Kaneholani -Santiago who served as one of Kumu Ua’s Alaka’i. She will add her own mana’o and Hula Hālau I Kona Mau Lima will continue on into the future.

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