HALAU HULA O NA PUA O HAWAII NEI
Our halau was established in 2008 by Kumu Hula Pekelo Day. Our goal is to build a strong foundation of traditional knowledge in all haumana. We teach students as young as 3 years old to learn Hawaiian language, music, and dance. Students have the opportunity to participate in community events throughout the year. Intermediate and advanced students have opportunities to perform for private events and compete in annual competitions.
KUMU HULA AKIKO COLTON
Akiko Colton spent the early parts of her life in Kumamoto, Japan. Her father was a music teacher so she grew up surrounded with music and performances. In her youth she danced and performed classical ballet.
In 1999, Akiko started working at the Polynesian Culture Center while attending Brigham Young University Hawaii where she earned a degree in Hawaiian Studies. There she learned the Hawaiian language, history, and culture including dance.
Akiko has been dancing hula since 1999. She danced with Halau Hula o Kekela in Laie, Hawaii under the direction of Kumu Kela Miller (former Alaka'i to Cy Bridges). Later, she danced for Keolalauolani Halau Olapa o Laka in Kane'ohe under Kumu Aloha Dalire. With Kumu Aloha Dalire she attended and competed in the Merrie Monarch Hula Competition in 2007 and 2008.
Akiko has been dancing with Kumu Pekelo Day since he started teaching in 2008. Akiko took over teaching for the halau in 2013 after Kumu Pekelo moved to Hawaii. Akiko became a kumu hula in 2018.
Pekelo Day was born and raised in Ke'anae, Maui. His grandmother, Wilhelmina Kealohanui, instructed his mother, from her deathbed, to "take care and guide this grandson of mine well in the sacred dance." Pekelo's mother, Appollonia Kealohanui Day, was of full Hawaiian ancestry and tried her best to raise her children with traditional Hawaiian cultural values. She taught Pekelo and the rest of her children hula. Pekelo learned to love and embrace oli (chants) and hula kahiko (ancient hula).
Pekelo learned hula and oli from many different kumu hula including Kumu Auntie Emma, Haunani Kauahi Judd and Sam Naeole on the island of O'ahu and Edith Kanaka'ole and George Na'ope on the island of Hawaii.
Pekelo loved to share the Hawaiian culture and his knowledge. In 1973, at the age of 13, Pekelo won first place in the oli division at the King Kamehameha Day Competition on O'ahu, and was recognized as the youngest instructor in the state. Pekelo attended Lahainaluna High School from 1974 to 1978 and continued teaching traditional dances of Hawaii. In 1979, he established Hula Halau o Ka La and started teaching hula kahiko to those who were eager to learn from him. Among those students were Keali'i Reichel and Uluwehi Guerrero, who are now both well known kumu hula and Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning musicians in Maui.
In 1979, Pekelo moved from Maui to the Big Island and created a few halau there. He took his hula dancers to the Merrie Monarch Festival Hula Competition in Hilo. He stayed in the Ka'u district for many years. In 1995, he started a non-profit organization, He Kula Na Mea Hawai'i, to perpetuate and preserve hula and the Hawaiian culture. Through this organization, Pekelo shares not only hula and oli skills, but also skills such as lei and implement making and na mea Hawaii (things Hawaiian).
Pekelo moved to Oregon in 2008 and soon opened Halau Hula o Na Pua o Hawaii Nei in Eugene. In 2013 he moved back to Hawaii where he is kumu for a halau on Hawaii Island.