ICP attends Kūlia e Uli: World Oli Movement 2022

Reflections and summation of a movement. Kūlia e Uli: World Oli Movement, took place 20–23 October, 2022 in a hybrid format. This annual Hawai‘i-based movement with global reach is a transformative interdisciplinary conference centered on oli.


The World Oli Movement

Kūlia e Uli: World Oli Movement, began as a first of its kind — an interdisciplinary virtual conference centered on oli chant traditions of Hawai‘i and inevitably encompassing bioacoustics, sound healing, and global chant traditions. This years WOM included an array of special events and activities including expert Hā‘ena Co-Keynotes, practical Kani-ka-wī-Kani-ka-wā workshops, a Kulukulu-ua Chant Concert, an Uliuli Intensive sunrise ceremony, a boutique series titled Tiny Kuahu, and an Kūekeolioli Oli Challenge as part of a grand panina (closing event). Oli, is a chanting expression and language of communication anchored in the Hawai‘i soundscape. The synchronization of the lolo (the reasoning brain), the na‘au (the gut or intuitive brain), and the self are all sonic resonances. The oli’s function is to tune into the vibration and frequency that will achieve the desired result while carrying the intention and imagery of the mele (Hawai‘i poetry; song).

‘O ‘Ikuwā i pohā kō‘ele‘ele, ‘ikuwā ke kai, ‘ikuwā ka hekili, ‘ikuwā ka manu…

‘Ikuwā is the month when dark storms arise, sea roars, thunder roars, birds roar…

Lonoa Honua began teaching oli online in 2020 to create a sense of community, and thus, The World Oli Movement (WOM) was created. Through a deeper awareness of the ways in which we can bring ourselves into resonance with self and our environment, WOM seeks to bring together all who seek it to exchange acoustic vibrations from all disciplines in order to better appreciate and care for our world. Drawing inspiration from Keali‘i chant concerts and Pua Kanahele’s Pagan Pride, WOM was created for any and all individuals interested in connecting to place and using that connection in both their personal and professional lives.

Lonoa Honua and Kekuhi Keali‘ikanaka‘oleohaililani

Lonoa Honua is the means and the medium through which to access and engage spirit.

Lonoa Honua, a local collective with a mission to connect people, places, and energies to one another through Hawai‘i Life ways, came to fruition by Kekuhi Keali‘ikanaka‘oleohaililani. By bestowing the name Lonoa Honua, Kekuhi drew from her Native Hawaiian heritage with Lonoa meaning the many senses that connect our cells, neurons, body, land, ocean, sky, mind, and spirit. And Honua, implying the body or the earth at all scales.

Educator Kekuhi Keali‘ikanaka‘oleohaililani has spent thirty-nine years studying the tradition of Hula ‘Aiha‘a and Hula Pele, chant and ritual under the tutelage of Hālau O Kekuhi, which bears the same name as her grandmother Edith Kekuhi Kanaka‘ole. Kekuhi works to educate fundamental Hawaiian practices that may connect anybody, anywhere to their inner and outer landscapes in an effort to expand her services to individuals outside of the hālau. Going beyond the World Oli Movement (WOM), she offers many annual series and programs, including Kū E Ke Olioli: Chanting for Wellbeing Series, alongside her husband Taupōuri Tangarō. Kekuhi has also developed an online chanting program titled Oli Honua, to enable students globally.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s Hybrid Event

When Lonoa Honua titled Kūlia e Uli the World Oli Movement, they meant it. WOM allowed participants the opportunity to be involved in the festivities both in-person at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, or virtually. ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s mission is to commemorate Mauna Kea, the dormant volcano on the island of Hawai‘i, the sacred home to Native Hawaiian gods, and the piko of Hawai‘i Island. ‘Imiloa pays tribute to Mauna Kea by encouraging exploration by showcasing Hawaiian culture and science through a variety of displays, community outreach initiatives, events, and other informal science education programs.

The center, originally named the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center, is noteworthy for its architectural design of conical-shaped buildings representing the Hawai‘i island volcanoes: Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Hualālai. Located on the campus of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, the center is surrounded by nine acres of native gardens. ‘Imiloa examines the history of the cosmos from a Hawai‘i lens by constantly seeking out new information and adjusting to our ever-changing external environment that spurs innovation and discovery. It was only fitting that ‘Imiloa hosted this year’s World Oli Movement by honoring our relationship with land, sea, and sky.

Photo: (L to R) Captain Pomai Bertelmann, Dr. Kealoha Fox, and Dr. Ku’ulei Higashi Kanahele, speakers at WOM 2022.

E Kūka‘i E Kākou: Hā‘ena Co-Keynote

On Saturday, October 22, 2022, as part of the WOM, ICP President and Senior Advisor, Kealoha Fox, joined by Pomai Bertelmann delivered a Hā‘ena Co-Keynote as they ate of the ‘āina (land) and moana (ocean); dialogued as pakanā (partners), and discussed the long-term outcomes ahead utilizing the energy and vibrations of our environment. The title kūka‘i (Fastening fish nets together) and the kaula (rope) that binds the two nets together, was used to represent the retooling of systems as re-emergent strategies and knowing that the voyage is imminently before us all. This intimate interaction served as an instrument of sustenance to bind each who Kūlia e Uli.

“In one breath, we are reminded that we are kanaka honua. Men of the land, and that there is a point after our time on the ocean when we must return home. These reminders — the anchor of Kupe, the dunes that shroud his waka, the mighty Kauri and her understory — help us to rejoin our pili to the ‘āina once again.”

– Pomai Bertelmann

Each of us plays a critical role in the legacy we leave behind, despite the fact that each of us will not have the same kuleana (responsibility) or role. This Co-Keynote table-talk explored the cycles of reemergence to maintaining engagement with our kuleana following the wisdom of our kupuna (ancestors). With the combination of food and dialogue, E Kūka‘i E Kākou investigated how the food and medicine we possess have the potential to become the core of this journey we are embarking on in our own lives.

Photo: Dr. Taupōuri Tangarō, speaker at WOM 2022


Among an array of Hā‘ena Co-Keynotes and Kani-ka-wī-Kani-ka-wā workshops, one of note titled, Holo Mai Pele (Pele Arrives), conducted by Dr. Taupōuri Tangarō. This hula-chant workshop was dedicated to sustaining education, environmental well-being and inspiration for Indigenous leadership. Holo Mai Pele uses the Hawai‘i oli style of Kāwele (emphatic recitation) known for its power and design to emphasize elements of a chant story without the use of elaborate vocal ornamentation. The hula that accompanies this oli is in the style of Hula Ki‘i (image dance), which closely resembles the chiseled, stiff images of Hawai‘i, making the choreography easy to follow. In this way, the simplicity of Hula Ki‘i allows the dancer’s energy to flow through the body into the performance environment. The oli mele itself calls into question what your story is, your values, and what sacrifices you make for the self and the community through Hawai‘i legend metaphors.

The Journey Ahead

Kūlia e Uli: World Oli Movement reflected on the past, explored the present and prepared us for the future. At the intersections of hulamele, lonoa and honua, and by reflecting critically on the things we do, the ways in which we do them, the mele, and the information within mele, WOM used the function of the body, mind, and spirit to develop a stronger relationship with self. Join us in this movement to heal and restore, learn more about Hawai‘i chant traditions and lifeways within the community.

Take a moment with us to reflect on the journey ahead of us by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What does sound mean to you? And what intentions flow when you hear specific sounds?
  • What parts of yourself does a sound reveal to you?
  • How do you hold space for yourself and for others?
  • How do you align yourself to your own potential?
  • What are the patterns in your life you need to shift in order to be successful (given your own definition of success)?

Please feel free to share them with us, to read them aloud to yourself wherever you are, to write them down, or to share them with a close friend or loved one.

. . .

Danyelle Kawamura is an apprentice with the Institute for Climate and Peace in Hawai‘i and a recent graduate from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Sustainability and Business. She is driven by a desire to serve and give back to the Pasifika community, to which she belongs as a young Native Hawaiian woman. Her ambition also stems from a desire to repay those whose fortitude and perseverance allowed her to exist today and promote the excellence and longevity of the Native Hawaiian community.

Kealoha Fox is the President and Senior Advisor with the Institute for Climate and Peace in Hawai‘i and a mentor to Danyelle Kawamura. A graduate of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, she is the recipient of more than 50 awards and distinctions, including being named one of the 20 leaders to follow for the next 20 years in 2022 by Hawaii Business Magazine and a 2022 candidate for the prestigious Pritzker Environmental Genius Award. As a Native Hawaiian woman, Kealoha has been deeply and purposefully trained by esteemed community elders in traditional and ancient Native Hawaiian practices and protocol such as ho‘oponopono, hāhā, and lā‘au lapa‘au.