Date of Conferral







Gladys Arome


Teachers of traditional hula have preserved Native Hawaiian cultural knowledge despite societal changes that led to cultural suppression in Hawaii. However, little is known about how these teachers accomplished this feat. The purpose of this study was to understand how hula instruction has evolved to transmit cultural knowledge and how past methods influenced current instructor practices in sustaining a vibrant culture. Research questions explored the instructional approaches and innovations of hula teachers past and present in one traditional hula school. The conceptual framework integrated the Native Hawaiian worldview and a Western theory of participatory creativity. A qualitative study using Indigenous research methodology examined the perspectives of multiple generations of hula instructors connected by one hula teaching tradition, focusing on the past and present stories through archival records and interviews. Participants were three instructors connected to a master hula teacher born before 1932. Data sources were archival materials and interviews. Data were analyzed for thematic, structural, performative/dialogic, and visual aspects. Key findings revealed how instructors developed innovative methods to transmit cultural knowledge and skills that applied to life outside the halau. Innovative instruction included the use of technology and participation in competitive performance events to promote learning. Such learning not only perpetuates the Hawaiian culture but promotes a value system that may positively contribute to the continuation of cultural knowledge, values, health, and well-being of the individual, the community, and beyond.