Hula Lesson Videos

Ka wai ke kumu ola!
Water, the Source of Life!


Aloha and welcome to Panaʻewa on Hawaiʻi Island! Kekuhi and Tuhi here! This mele, Ka Wai Ke Kumu Ola, is a hula paʻiumauma, that talks about the entire water cycle and the components: the sun, the ocean, the clouds, the rain, the forests, the crops, the water people. This hula was originally taught to us by Lanakila Manguil. This mele (chant text) was composed for the Hawaiian Studies Kupuna Program, by Kupuna Omphroy.

Vocabulary: hula paʻiumauma – A dance in which one of the movements consisted in striking on the chest

Click here for PDF of the text below. For mele and translation only, click here

YouTube playlist of ALL the videos can be accessed here.

Lesson 1: Verse 1 and 2

We’ll teach this hula 2 verses at a time in each video. You will see 2 versions: standing and sitting. For everyone – when you are going to do this hula, you should use a pareu (2 yard cloth) or pāʻū (hula skirt) to cover the bottom half of your body.


1. Ke kai lā ke kai
Ke kumu o ka wai 

2. Ka wai lā ka wai
Huki ʻia e ka lā


1. The ocean, the salty ocean
The source of water

2. The water, the fresh water
Pulled out by the sun

Vocabulary Used:

noho – sit

ʻahaʻaha – to sit cross-legged 

pāpio – to sit with knees together and feet to one side

Lesson 2: Verse 3 and 4


3. Ka lā e ka lā
Ke aliʻi o ka lani 

4. Ka lani lā ka lani 
Ka home o ke ao


3. The sun, the great sun
The chief of the sky

4. The sky, the beautiful sky
The home of the clouds

We recognize the sun as the huge element that pulls the water from the ocean and into the clouds.

Lesson 3: Verse 5 and 6


5. Ke ao lā ke ao 
Hānau mai ka ua 

6. Ka ua lā ka ua
Iho lā i uka 


5. The clouds, the clouds
Who birth the rain

6. The rain, the rain
Falling in the uplands

If you can’t get the full rhythm with your feet and hands, here we introduce another variation.

Lesson 4: Verses 7, 8, 9, 10


7. I uka lā i uka
Ka wailele lā  

8. Wailele lā wailele
Loko wai ʻoluʻolu  

9. Loko wai loko wai
Kahe i ke kahawai  

10. Kahawai kahawai 
Kahe i ka ʻauwai 


7. In the uplands, in the mountains
Is the waterfall

8. The waterfall, the waterfall
Flows to the refreshing freshwater pond 

9. The freshwater pond
Flows to the river

 10. The river, the river
Flows to the canal

Lesson 5: Verses 11, 12, 13


11. Nā ʻauwai nā ʻauwai 
Kahe i ka lo’i kalo  

12. Loʻi kalo loʻi kalo 
Hoʻi i ka ʻauwai 

13. Ka ʻauwai ka ʻauwai 
Ho’i i ke kahawai 


11. The canal, the canal
Flows to the wetland taro patch 

12. The taro patch, the taro patch
The water returns to the canal 

13. The canal, the canal
The water returns to river

Lesson 6: Verses 14, 15, 16


14. Kahawai kahawai
Kahe i ka muliwai 

15. Muliwai muliwai
Noho i ke kahakai 

 16. Kahakai kahakai 
Ka lei o ke kai 

Ke kai lā ke kai                         
Ke kumu ola o ka wai ē



14. The river, the freshwater stream
Flows to the river mouth 

15. The river mouth, the river mouth
Resides at the beach

16. The beach, the beach
The beloved, the crown of the ocean

The ocean, the sea
Is the source of water, the source of life! 


The Whole Hula

If you never knew the water cycle before, you can explain it through the mele or the hula now! We challenge you to get the words wonderfully, and to be able to recall the water cycle. It is so important BECAUSE the care of our FORESTS really affects the quality of our water cycle. A hui hou! Till we meet again!

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