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KS Hawaiʻi haumāna perform the epic Hawaiian language opera Hāʻupu for audiences at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the first Hawaiian language production in the nearly 70 year old theater festival.

Hawaiian Opera coming to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center

Apr. 21, 2017

Kamehameha Schools delivers world-class, Hawaiian culture-based education.  Performing Hāʻupu has been an incredible opportunity for students to connect to and showcase Hawaiian culture and language through the stories of their kūpuna. These performing opportunities help cultivate a strong Native Hawaiian identity that instills confidence and resiliency in our learners.

The Maui Arts & Cultural Center is presenting students from the Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i campus in the Maui premiere of the Hawaiian-language opera, Hāʻupu.  The opera will be presented in the MACC’s Castle Theater on Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Hā‘upu tells the legend of Kana and Hina. It is a story of the Wā Kāhiko, the ancient times when gods would walk among men. It is a tale of mythological proportions shrouded in folklore and presented through an opera exclusively in the Hawaiian language. Hā‘upu is a story of love and hate; of wrong and revenge; of custom and courage; of passion and superstition. The story in the opera is about Hina, an ali‘i from Hilo, who is captured by Kapepe‘ekauila, a rogue ali‘i from Moloka‘i, and brought to the cliffs of Hā‘upu. Her sons Kana and Nīheu set out to rescue her. But she's fallen out of love with her husband Hakalanileo and starts to develop feelings for Kapepe‘ekauila and her new surroundings.  The opera’s story has been compared to the myth of Helen of Troy.

The opera will be performed in the Hawaiian language and a program will be provided that includes a thorough summary of each act so that audiences can follow along.

Hā‘upu debuted early last year at Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i as part of the school's annual Hō‘ike, an all-school production that incorporates song, chant and dance to tell a story that connects back to Native Hawaiian culture and mo‘ōlelo (stories). The production also made history last August when it was selected by the American High School Theater Festival to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world's largest performing arts festival.  This was the first Hawaiian language and hula production in the festival's nearly seven decades long history. A group of 19 students were cast to journey to Edinburgh.

Tickets are $25, $35 plus applicable fees. Kids 12 and under are half-price.  Tickets are available at the MACC Box Office, by phone at 242-SHOW or online at  MACC members receive a ten percent discount.

Students and kumu will also present a special showing of Hāʻupu for KS Maui middle school haumāna on Friday, May 28 in Keōpūolani Hale and plan to visit Waineʻe church to pay respect to Keōpūolani and Nahiʻenaʻena.

In addition to this opportunity and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, haumāna were also featured on a national broadcast of NPR's From the Top earlier this year, where a selection from Hāʻupu was performed. Students have also performed Hāʻupu at the UH Hilo Hawaiian language theater festival, Volcanoes National Park and numerous school functions.

SP2020 is a five-year strategic plan that will guide Kamehameha Schools from 2015 to 2020. The plan marks a starting point toward KS’ Vision 2040, which envisions success for all Native Hawaiian learners.

Activities like these support Goal 1 and Goal 3 of SP2020 which call for KS to deliver world-class, culture-based education and to cultivate Native Hawaiian identity within its learners. It also supports Action 1 of Kamehameha’s Ten Actions for fiscal year 2016-17, advancing as a world-class KS school system.

Ticket Information

Tickets are $25, $35 plus applicable fees. Kids 12 and under are half-price.

Tickets are available at the MACC Box Office, by phone at 242-SHOW or online at

MACC members receive a ten percent discount.

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