What is a Kīhei?

UH Hilo graduates are offered a kīhei to wear along with their graduation regalia. A kīhei is a traditional Hawaiian wrap used to mark formal ceremonies in Hawaiʻi. We are pleased to continue this tradition at our commencement ceremonies.

Graduate seated with Kīhei2018 Fall Commencement photo

Three graduates wearing Kīhei at the 2019 commencement2019 Spring Commencement photo

Each Kīhei is Special

Our UH Hilo design incorporates

  • the Hilo braid,
  • the three mountains of Maunakea, Maunaloa, and Kilauea;
  • Niho manō (Shark Teeth);
  • and Kanilehua; the mist like rain for which Hilo is famous.

The red kīhei is synonymous with our island connection to lava and fire.

The Kīhei Protocol

There are protocols when wearing and maintaining a kīhei. The UH Hilo kīhei will be knotted on the left shoulder of the wearer.

The use of the kīhei is to mark a formal occasion or ceremony. Therefore...

  • It should be removed if you need to use the restroom before the ceremony begins and be re-tied.
  • At the conclusion of your commencement activities, the kīhei should...
    • Be neatly folded and stored in a bag or container or hung in an appropriate space for future use.
    • Never double as a pāreu, curtain, or tablecloth.
    • Not be tied around your neck as a cape or worn as a head wrap.

Downloadable Infographic

Kihei Infographic