Halau Hula O Maiki

*The following is from an interview with Kumu Hula , Coline Aiu

Coline Aiu's mother, Auntie Maiki Aiu is known as the " Mother of the Hawaiian Renaissance". Auntie was very proud of being Hawaiian. She was studying the Hawaiian culture in the 1940's when being "Hawaiian" was not a popular thing. In the 1970's, Auntie Maiki taught forty-eight students. Through this teaching, she began the halau style of teaching, such as writing things down in a hula notebook. Hula has been the keeper of na mea Hawai'i: i.e., language, navigation, sovereingty. Auntie Maiki has contributed to the strong foundation of hula. Being Hawaiian then was different from being Hawaiian now. Things Hawaiian were not always acceptable.

Auntie Maiki was doing the language, and kept much of the learning of the arts; lei making, pa'u making, using traditional native trees and plants, so that by the early 70's she took 48 people and began to train them. And she was the first to bring the halau-stlye of teaching back into practice again in Hawai'i. Before that, there were some old teachers that brought 1 or 2 students into their homes, and she used to do this too. But in her school, she taught not only hula, language, history, she developed the use of the notebook, where you write, and this was very different. Before, ho'opili. These things set the fertile ground for sovereignty almost. So, she was proud of being Hawaiian, and she walked proudly. Even in a Western world she maintained her Hawaiian-ness and I think the most important thing was that she maintained her Hawaiian-ness in the sense of spirit, not in the trendy trappings of being of being Hawaiian as we see today. Hawaiians were very proud people, they worked very hard. You know if you ever worked in a lo'i, that's your life, that's hard work. Hawaiians were very industrialist people. They were very humble and prayed all day long because they lived so closely to the things they were touching and they knew living on an island was finite. People who come here think our resources are inexhaustable, they don't understand that there's only so much water and there's only so much land, and everybody has to be responsible. In families, you are responsible from the littlest child upward. Hawaiians understood this. That's Hawaiian thinking. And Auntie Maiki fostered that idea of true ohana. We are all responsible and all make sacrifices, it's not hard work if we all do it.

Western thinking is, develop your mind and be real book smart, and be sure that you have a sleak body. Hawaiian thinking is, you get sick if your spirit is not well, so better if you have a good spirit, then your body will be fortified and your mind will be fortified. Hula works from the inside out, not from the out side in, so you have 50 people dancing with the same sense of values. Auntie Maiki was the one to cultivate all of that.

The philosophy of Halau Hula O Maiki that was perpetuated through Auntie Maiki, and now Miss Coline Aiu, is that hula is life, in all of it's goodness and sadness. This halau believes that hula is healing, and is powerful. In the words of Kumu hula Coline Aiu, " Hula is not only a dance, it is a way of living in the world, that brings you closer to the creator."

The symbol of Halau Hula O Maiki is that of a pahu and lei maile. The pahu represents the connection with La'amaikahiki, and the maile is in honor of Laka. The hula pahu is the voice of the people. And Laka is a god who is both male and female, so who's energy is the same. Laka is known as the light of the forest.

As my mother used to say, "This knowledge that I have, I give it to you, but it will always be mine until you know how to take care of it, until you can keep it and treasure it and love it."

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