Mary Kawena Pukui

maryAunty Kawena is often credited with having made the Hawaiian cultural Renaissance possible, although she shied away from the politics of it. Because of her willingness to share her vast knowledge with non-Hawaiians she was sometimes criticized. But thanks in large part to her work, however, the rejuvenation of Hawaiian culture proceeded unabated and has led to the establishment of Hawaiian language immersion schools and even the revival of ancient cultural practices such as traditional sailing may not have been possible without her pioneering efforts. She is known and revered as one of a handful of people to resurrect the traditional form of hula and personally composed over 150 chants. In 1995 she was inducted into the Hawaii Music Hall of Fame and each year the Bishop Museum celebrates the Mary Kawena Pukui Arts Festival featuring story, song and dance. All three of her daughters continued in her footsteps as kumu hula and culture keepers.