OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

The second Nā Mamo Makamae o Ka Po‘e Hawai‘i: Living Treasures of the Hawaiian People was hosted by OHA and the PAʻI Foundation on February 8, 2019. The event honored five living master practitioners and knowledge keepers.

Living Treasures

Nā Mamo Makamae o Ka Po‘e Hawai‘i: Living Treasures of the Hawaiian People recognizes individuals and groups in Hawaiʻi and on the continent who have contributed to the preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian cultural and artistic traditions and properties. It also honors cultural treasures who have labored for years to master traditional practices, inspiring present and future generations to ensure their continuation.

Have someone to nominate? Click here

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs will be accepting nominations for Nā Mamo Makamae o ka Poʻe Hawaiʻi beginning in January of 2020, the agency’s third Living Treasures of the Hawaiian People program.

In the spirit of Hoʻoulu Lāhui Aloha, the selection committee encourages the community to participate in nominating and framing Nā Mamo Makamae o ka Poʻe Hawaiʻi

Nominees should exemplify OHA’s core values and guiding principles:

  1. Poʻokela: Individual or group has attained a high level of mastery in the Hawaiian culture and arts.
  2. Hoʻomau: Individual or group demonstrated and continues to demonstrate growth and learning and teaching in the area of mastery.
  3. Kūlia: The contribution of the artist a) inspires lāhui and b) takes and spreads mana Hawaiʻi throughout Hawaiʻi and beyond (e.g. through publications and DVDs).
  4. Mālama kekahi i kekahi: Artist’s works are made relevant to the times and environment. Relatedness and relationships are built.
  5. Moʻokūʻauhau: Individual has seniority and rank.

The nomination form will be made available in January of 2020. For more information, email OHA Cultural Specialist Kalani Akana at kalania@oha.org.

2019 Nā Mamo Makamae o Ka Po‘e Hawai‘i:
Living Treasures of the Hawaiian People

OHA is proud to continue Nā Mamo Makamae o Ka Po‘e Hawai‘i: Living Treasures of the Hawaiian People with its second group of honorees. These kāne and wāhine were nominated by those in the communities they serve, living master practitioners and knowledge keepers. They are:

  • Doreen Henderson – 2018 Lei Hulu Master
  • Florence Pualeipoinaole “‘Anakē Lolena” Nicholas –  2018 ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i & Pūnana Leo Pioneer
  • ‘Umi Kai2019 Haku Hana No‘eau, Makahiki, ‘Ōlohe Ku‘ialua
  • Dr. Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele2019 Loea Hula, ‘Ike Kūpuna, and Papakū Makawalu Methodology
  • Jerry Walker2018 ‘Ōlohe Ku‘ialua

These Treasures were nominated and selected by a group of cultural experts and practitioners. OHA is collaborating with PA‘I Foundation in the spirit of kākou to honor these recipients to produce this important event at Pōmaika‘i Ballrooms at Dole Cannery

Nā Mamo Makamae o Ka Po‘e Hawai‘i is a unique event within Hawaiian organizations. “Our cultural practioners are not just keepers of the flame, they are the connection and bridge to our past,” said OHA Ka Pouhana (CEO) Kamana‘opono Crabbe. “The more we learn from our kūpuna and apply what we learn from them, the more we maintain that bond with our ancestors, our homeland, and our identity as kanaka ‘ōiwi.”

PA‘I Foundation Executive Director Victoria Holt Takamine said, “The PA‘I Foundation is pleased to provide partnership support to this important event, which aligns well with the PA‘I Foundation mission of preserving and protecting Native Hawaiian culture and arts for future generations.”


Photo: Doreen Henderson

Kumu Lei Doreen Henderson

By Nan Davis

Doreen Moana Kaleookanakaleookapailaka Rose Henderson was born in 1925 in her grandfather Otto Rose’s cabin at Hilo One, where now stands the Naniloa Hotel. She was the eldest of three sisters and one brother. She enjoyed being her father’s shadow and project assistant, which is probably why her attention to detail is so keen. Fishing, car mechanics, house building – no task was too grand. Her father passed early in his life and too early in Aunty’s life. As a child, she and her sister were asked to collect bird feathers for one of her uncles who kept a variety of caged birds with attractive feathers. Aunty thinks this short phase of her life may have encouraged her love of defining beautiful feathers.

Aunty Doreen is in her 94th year and living the life of a champion. All of her haumāna want to be like her. She continues to teach lei hulu every Wednesday at the Kea‘au Senior Center, even though she has officially retired. She has trained a number of alaka‘i to replace her as teachers. If you are considered a teacher and a graduate, you have met many hurdles and challenges and skills in learning lei hulu. There are thirteen lei hulu styles which must be perfected by her graduates.

To this day, Aunty’s students teach Lei Hulu for special events at The Kamehameha Schools. Her students make lei hulu for hālau in Hilo and for the Ka‘ahumanu society. Aunty has made beautiful kāhili for the Kamehameha Chapel. Read more about Kumu Lei Doreen Henderson


Photo: Florence Pualeipoinaole Nicholas

Florence Pualeipoinaole “‘Anakā Lolena” Nicholas

By Na Puakea Nogelmeier, PhD.

No Ni‘ihau mai nō ‘o ‘Anakë Lolena Nicholas, kahi i hānau ‘ia ai he kanawalu mau makahiki aku nei. Keiki a Keuwao me Hana Nï‘au, ma Ni‘ihau nō ‘o ia i noho ai a i kona wā makua. Ma Kaua‘i ‘o ia i launa ai i kāna kāne aloha, ‘o ‘Anakala “Nicky” Nicholas, a ne‘e auane‘i lāua i O‘ahu me nā keiki ‘elua, ‘o Pua me Dukie. Ma O‘ahu nō ‘o ia i ho‘opūnana ai a hiki i këia lā.
Komo koke ‘o Lolena i nā hana ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i ma ke Kulanui o Hawai‘i ma Mānoa, a he hoa pili ‘o ia no Larry Kimura a me nā kumu ‘ë a‘e o ia wā. Kāko‘o nui ‘o ia i ka Hui Aloha ‘Āina Tuahine, nāna i ho‘okumu i ka papahana lekiō ‘o Ka Leo Hawai‘i, 1972-1986. He hoa kipa ‘o ia me Lale ma Ka Leo Hawai‘i i kahi hapa o ka manawa, a ‘o Lolena ka hoa kama‘ilio i ka manawa e kipa ai a kelepona mai paha kekahi hoa Ni‘ihau i ka papahana lekiō. I ka ho‘āla hou ‘ana iā Ka Leo Hawai‘i i ka makahiki 1989, lilo ‘o Lolena i kōko‘okolu me Hau‘oli Akaka a ‘o Puakea Nogelmeier no ‘umi a ‘oi makahiki hou o ia papahana e kipa ana a e ho‘okipa ana ho‘i i nā mānaleo o ka pae ‘āina.
Ma kahi o 2006, ua ‘ae ‘o Lolena e lawe i ka ‘oihana kumu mānaleo ma ke Kulanui o Hawai‘i ma Mānoa, kahi āna e ho‘omau nei i kāna hana ho‘oulu ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i. Read more about Florence Pualeipoinaole “‘Anakā Lolena” Nicholas


Photo: Gordon ‘Umialīloalāhānauokalākaua Kai

Gordon ‘Umialīloalāhānauokalākaua Kai

By Lloyd Kumulā‘au Sing

What is the measure and role of the Hawaiian male by today’s standards? By the time I came to know of Umi Kai some 20 years ago, he was already a respected cultural practitioner in the Hawaiian community, and a noted master of reproducing traditional mea kaua (weapons) and implements, having produced his first weapon in 1967 when he was a high school student. Today ‘Umi is an ‘Ōlohe lua (master of Hawaiian fighting arts) of Pā Ku‘i A Lua, the President of ‘Aha Kāne Board of Directors and a Kūpuna of Hale Mua o Kuali‘i.

‘Umi’s accolades over the past four decades are many; through his work reproducing artifacts to support cultural projects for the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the Peabody-Essex Museum, the Wellington and Cook Museum respectively and, many private Hawaiian collections, last year, he was honored as a 2018 Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i Living Treasure recipient. Read more about Gordon ‘Umialīloalāhānauokalākaua Kai


Photo: Dr. Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele

Dr. Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele

By Taupōuri Taugarō

And here we are, me and my conversation companion Reminisce, sitting together remembering when I first met this woman who is being honored, Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele. She is a woman from Front Street, Keaukaha, in the land section of Waiākea, in the district of Hilo-Hanakahi, Hawai‘i Island, and she is a pampered child of Luka Kanaka‘ole, the father, and Edith Kenao Kanaka‘ole, the mother. Both of her parents are descendants of Ka‘ū and Puna districts, lands perpetually glowing in the mountain fire of Maunaloa.

The year we met each other was 1982. I was but 19 years old at the time. My fear for meeting her for the first time overwhelmed me with fright. I have not experienced before in my life such a sensation. The exact place we met was on the second-floor of Hata’s, a Japanese store built in 1917, the same one that still stands in the Ahupua‘a of Punahoa, at the town of Hilo. Hata’s had a steep staircase that let to the hallway leading to the door of Hālau ‘O Kekuhi. The door to the hālau stood at the end of the hallway, a very dim-lit space and shadowy, a space where ghostly whispers dwell. It was there that I sat hunched and doubled up with my companion at my side Tremble awaiting the arrival of Pualani. It was evening. Read more about Dr. Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele


Photo: Olohe Jerry Walker

ʻŌlohe Jerry Walker

By Sean Puahi Chun

I can recall the afternoon when I met Jerry Walker. We were in Kekaha, Kaua‘i, where he was giving a seminar on lua. He looked at me and without skipping a beat he said, in a heavy Polynesian accent, “Looks like it’s kona wind!” I nodded in agreement, quite puzzled about about the accent. Then he said, “And it looks like it’s kona wain, too!” I couldn’t help but laugh. I knew right there, that he was a special person.

I learned about Jerry as time passed. He shared about his journey in martial arts world: earning black belts in Japanese, Okinawan and Hawaiian Karate. He also studied under Bucksam Kong, and is proficient in Tai Chi Quan, Xing Yi Quan, Baguazhang and Water Boxing. He furthered his studies with Uncle David Nu‘uhiwa, of Kaito Gakko, as well as Professor Bruce Keaulani. He also worked with Sol Kaihewalu, of Lua Halau o Kaihewalu. Jerry is also a collaborating author, a great historian and adept at Hawaiian genealogy

But, it was his interest in lua, that has impacted the Hawaiian culture. Considered a lost art by some, Jerry came across an article in a magazine that mentioned, Charles Kenn, a noted historian. He sought Kenn out, and in 1974 was successful in convincing him to teach himself, and a few others, the art of lua. Kenn asked that in turn, they teach Hawaiians the art of lua and them to reconnect to their culture. Read more about Olohe Jerry Walker


Click here to view the 2017 Nā Mamo Makamae Living Treasures

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