PHOTOS: Kīpaepae Puka Kulanui performed at UH Hilo 2016 Fall Commencement

UH Hilo’s Fall Commencement program featured a Kīpaepae Puka Kulanui presentation about learning and growth as part of a theme on indigenous education.

Keiki dancing at Commencement-- they are in red and blue dresses with kapa print, hands gesturing, fern head leis. Pahu drummer and university officials sit on dais in background.
Children from Waikāunu Hālau in Kamuela under Kumu Hula Kūwalu ʻAnakalea dancing ʻUlei Pahu I Ta Motu at UH Hilo’s 2016 Fall Commencement. The performance was part of the Kīpaepae Puka Kulanui to celebrate higher education through an indigenous lens.


In addition to honoring graduates, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo 2016 Fall Commencement highlighted higher education through an indigenous lens, a high priority of the UH System through its Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao initiative. There was no traditional keynote speaker during this commencement program, but rather a focus on the student speaker and a Kīpaepae Puka Kulanui presentation about learning and growth.

Kīpaepae Puka Kulanui

A chant-hula was performed by UNUKUPUKUPU, the Indigenous Leadership through Hula Program under the directorship of Pele Kaʻio, Hawaiian Protocols Committee chairperson, and Taupōuri Tangarō, director of Hawaiian Culture and Protocols Engagement at UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College.

About 50 individuals performed, representing UH Hilo, Hawaiʻi CC, and Waiākea High School.

Large group of keiki and kumu on steps for group photo. Keiki are in colorful dress, adults are in black.
The group stands for photo before performance.
Gail Makuakāne-Lundin at podium.
Gail Makuakāne-Lundin introduces ʻUlei Pahu I Ta Motu.

Gail Makuakāne-Lundin, interim executive assistant to the chancellor and director of Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, introduced the chant-hula entitled, ʻUlei Pahu I Ta Motu, which was composed more than 200 years ago and documents the evolution of world view.

The chant-hula was preceded and followed by the sounding of 20 pahu (drums) and 20 (conch-shell trumpets). The 20  also sounded in honor of moana-nui-ākea (large and broad oceans) that connect Hawaiʻi to the world.

Man blowing conch shell. He wears black and has fern head lei, kukui lei around neck.
Noʻeau Kalima, Unuolehua member, Kumu for the Waiākea High School Early College Hula Cohort and UH Hilo senior, blowing the pū.


The performance concluded with the presentation of paʻakai (sea-salt) to honor the profound intersection where the learner transitions to graduate.

Keiki dancing, right toes pointed out, one arm up, the other down. They are in black and yellow.
Children from Hālau O Kekuhi, under Kumu Hula Huihui Kanahele-Mossman dancing Ka Hale Kanakaʻole.


See also PHOTOS: UH Hilo 2016 Fall Commencement

-UH Hilo Stories