In the annals of Hawai‘i’s history, there have been some formidable wāhine who fought fearlessly to protect ancient Hawaiian traditions, served as committed carers for outcasts, and shared their gifts with the world and future generations. Here are four influential women who attribute their mana to their kūpuna, the natural elements or a higher being.
Kumu Julia Keahi Luahine Sylvester
(1877 – 1937)
Hula dancers on Kaua‘i in the 1890s. Photo: R. J. Baker Collection, Wikipedia
Who Was Keahi Luahine?
Descended from a long line of Kaua‘i hula dancers, trained to perform for the ali‘i, Keahi had inspired many throughout her life, including her hānai grand niece ‘Iolani Luahine. Keahi was one of the last royal dancers in the court of King Kalākaua and Queen Lili‘uokalani, and is recognized as one of the foremost hula kumu of her day.
Kumu ‘Iolani Luahine
(1915 – 1978)
Kumu ‘Iolani Luahine. Photo: The Honolulu Advertiser, July 2, 2006
Who Was ‘Iolani Luahine?
ʻIolani Luahine was a legendary native Hawaiian kumu hula, dancer, chanter and instructor who was considered the “high priestess” of ancient hula. She played an important role in the Second Hawaiian Renaissance during the 1970s.
Mother Marianne Cope
(1838 – 1918)
Mother Marianne Cope. Photo: Wikipedia
Who Was Marianne Cope?
Mother Marianne Cope was a pioneering advocate for patient rights, sanitation and hygiene and dedicated her life to the sick without distinction of nationality, religion, color, or character. Her life’s work took her across the world to care for Hawai‘i’s outcast people afflicted with leprosy.
(1918 – 2008)
Genoa Keawe. Photo: Twobikeminimum, Wikipedia
Who Was Genoa Keawe?
Genoa Keawe was an influential native Hawaiian singer and ‘ukulele player. She was an icon in the Hawaiian music scene for six decades and took pride in preserving ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.