Hawaiʻi Stewardship Training

Hālau means “many breaths,” and is a space for learning. ʻŌhiʻa is the name of our most bio-culturally important tree in Hawaiʻi. This foundational tree can thrive in almost every environment from the low coastal lands to the highest uplands, and its appearance and growth is adaptive to the land on which it establishes. In the same way, we look to create foundational understandings that will help our learners to adapt their own practices to be in strong relationship with their environment and community.

Elements of Stewardship Training

Hawaiʻi lifeways, sometimes expressed as Hawaiian culture, teaches us that the landscape, sky, and the ocean are our family! By learning a little more about the Hawaiʻi lifeways, language, ritual, music, hula, poetry, chant, wahi pana (or pulsing places), the arts and many other aspects--we learn more about how to express aloha for the potential of our island homes in Hawaiʻi and beyond Hawaiʻi... and for ourselves.


Kuahu initiates deepening connection to our natural world through the recognition and ritualization of the traits, behaviors and functions of our plant people.

Mele & Oli

Mele are the written text that capture imagery of our environmental processes, and Oli is the practice through which we align to the energetics of those processes through sound.

More About Oli


Ritual string figures accompanied by oli, require careful focus and attention to sequence. Combined into one practice, these skills intentionally cultivate and capture energy towards a clear purpose set by the practitioner.


The intentional movement and physical demand of hula requires the dancer to understand their environment through the embodiment of our natural elements.


Kaʻao are a form of narrative storytelling, anchored in Hawaiʻi place names, characters and relationships; encapsulating countless generations of environmental knowledge. Careful study of kaʻao elicit interpretations and connections across global, regional and personal scales.


500+ Learners

since we opned our doors in 2016

Today, there are approximately 200 learners enrolled and continuing their learning with Hālau ʻŌhiʻa at various levels of training. These include two in-person cohorts based on the islands of Hawaiʻi, and Oʻahu, and two new online/global cohorts in the Hālau ʻŌhiʻa Iākea program.

We periodically open enrollment for new students in Hālau ʻŌhiʻa Iākea (online), so please fill out the form at the bottom of this page if you are interested in learning about future enrollment opportunities.

Adding Hālau ʻŌhiʻa to my life in the pandemic has been a place of grounding when the world around was constantly changing. It was something that I did to invest in myself and my wellbeing that I didn't realize would also extend to my ohana and students.

- Anonymous

The more I know Hawai’i lifeways, the more I feel in common with Japanese culture. And I became very fond of my country, Japan, and wanted to know more about Japan.

- Mico M. K.

I have learned about how truly connected we all are. Its so easy in our daily lives to lose that connection, and see our differences, but through sharing, understanding, and learning about everything that connects and binds us all together was a life and personal philosophy changing experience.

- Kekoa R.

Connect with us on social media and follow along as we share insights into our learners' journeys!

Hālau ʻŌhiʻa Iākea Courses

The Hālau ʻŌhiʻa Iākea program is entirely online. 

Learners in Hālau ʻŌhiʻa Iākea strengthen their relationships to self and environment through this series of courses. Each course offers new skills, deeper understanding and more opportunities to put these into practice within your own work. Explore the stages of ʻōhiʻa growth that learners will experience in their Hālau ʻŌhiʻa journey.


First Level - The seed

Hua level training introduces learners to personal engagement with  our ʻohana or family in nature and with one another.

Aʻa a Mole

Second Level - Rootlets and the tap root

In Papa Aʻa a Mole emphasis will be on expanding: upon skills and practices from Papa Hua and going deeper into the study of the union of cultural/natural resources management and Hawaiʻi lifeways.


Third Level - A forest of ʻōhiʻa lehua

Establishing a mokulehua is establishing and sustaining a community. Papa Mokulehua will focus on strengthening skills in kuahu, kaʻao, hula & hei, and mele & oli.


Fourth Level - Spreading of the ʻōhiʻa forest

Learners will begin dispersing their “hua” and learn how to transmit and document what they've  learned. An exchange with other communities will help our moku (forest) hāliʻi (cover/spread).  


Fifth Level - Breathing of the forest

At this last level of training, the  learner is ready to teach, she/he is now kumu ʻōhiʻa or the tree itself, ready to conduct simple on-site ritual, articulate relationships, and create a simple curriculum  for staff, family, community and groups you serve.

"Papa Hua deeply enriched my relationships, both personal and professional, and my concept of self. I now know how to experience and express myself as a reflection of the life of the world, the lands and waters it is my mission to conserve, while honoring my scientific training in a way that feels natural and authentic."
Chad W.

How We Engage

As a Community

The structure of these courses is based on the a Hālau format, in which "hā lau" (many breaths) or may people and perspectives is integral to the learning process. Thus, we open these courses to cohorts of new learners, who will move through the lessons and levels together.


Our courses are offered in a 100% online format. Video content and other resources are uploaded regularly to our member site to help pace our learners' progress.


Each level of Hālau ʻŌhiʻa Iākea is a 3 to 5-month commitment. Lessons are released as the cohort moves through the material and learning is largely self-directed.


While learning is self-directed, the pace of learning is based on the cohortsʻs overall progress. Learners will have the opportunity to connect with both Kekuhi and other learnerʻs in their cohort with regular online meetings (via Zoom).

"I witnessed personal growth in others and in myself. There is such beauty in truth, and such power and exponential growth in aloha. And I know I'm not alone in seeing/seeking this potential in self and community."
Brian T.

Have Questions?

Here are some of the most common questions we get from folks!

Learn more about Hālau ʻŌhiʻa by connecting with us on social media
"It's easy in science justifying trying to remove the emotion and feelings from our work, but being in Hālau ʻŌhiʻa has reminded me that these things are important to my work and can help bring people together."
Mamo W.

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