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Hālau at Honokōhau park

A hālau is Hawaiian word meaning a school, academy, or group. Literally, the word means "a branch from which many leaves grow." Today a hālau usually describes a hula school (hālau hula).

The teacher at the hālau is the kumu hula, where kumu means source of knowledge, or literally just teacher. Often you will find that there is a hierarchy in hula schools - starting with the kumu (teacher), alaka'i (leader), kokua (helpers), and then the 'olapa (dancers) or haumana (students).

The word was also used for the long open-air houses, often constructed at the shores, where the instruction took place.

An example has been reconstructed at the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park.[1]

A common Hawaiian adage is " ʻAʻohe pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi," which means, "All knowledge is not contained in only one school."[2]


  1. ^ The Spirit of Kaloko brochure from National Park Service
  2. ^ 'Olelo No'eau : Hawaiian proverbs & poetical sayings. Pukui, Mary Kawena, 1895-1986., Varez, Dietrich, 1939-. Honolulu, Hawai'i: Bishop Museum Press. 1983. ISBN 0910240922. OCLC 11372381.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)