Held once every four years, Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola was first presented in 2001 in Hilo, Hawai‘i. The inaugural gathering featured 100 Kumu Hula and Cultural Practitioner presenter and 926 conference participants from around the world. The ʻAha was again presented in 2005 in Kahului, Maui, and again in 2009 at Kapālama, O‘ahu where a total of 1483 people participated. Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola delegates came from the islands of Hawai‘i, 21 states from the US Continent, and 11 countries including Japan, Mexico, Canada, French Polynesia, Poland, Switzerland and others. In 2014, 860 participants gathered on the Island of Kauaʻi to learn and enhance their knowledge of Hula.
With the continued interest and rapid growth of hula rising around the globe, Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola was born of a common desire to provide a nexus for masters, practitioners and enthusiasts of hula knowledge and Hawaiian culture to share their thoughts and understanding of this sacred Hawaiian art form. Founders and master kumu hula, Dr. Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, Leinā‘ala Kalama Heine and Hōkūlani Holt-Padilla felt it was necessary to create unique and meaningful learning experiences and opportunities for participants from the world over, to reconnect to the primal sources of inspiration that emanate from Hawai‘i – the origin and birthplace of hula itself. It was their shared vision that made Ka ‘Aha Hula ‘O Hālauaola a reality.