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Ma ka hana ka ‘ike.

In working one learns.


Hālau Kū Māna (HKM) was founded in 1999 and opened to students in 2001, by a group of bold Hawaiian educators and members of the Maunalaha and Papakōlea communities. The vision was to make Hawaiian cultural knowledge and practices—such as hula, sailing, fishpond restoration, and taro cultivation—centerpieces for cultural revival, community empowerment, and academic excellence. Ka Papa Loʻi ʻo Kānewai and the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies provided the first home for HKM in our opening year. Hālau Kū Māna moved to its current, permanent home in Makiki in 2007. HKM remains one of the only Hawaiian culture-based charter schools located in urban Honolulu.

The efforts to build Hawaiian culture-based charter schools like HKM have been about the restoration of the holistic health of Hawaiian communities and nationhood. After 100 years of assimilationist schooling, at the turn of the 21st century Kanaka Maoli communities seized the opportunity to assert a limited measure of autonomy in the Hawaiʻi public education system by starting charter schools that make project-based and ‘āina-based learning, Hawaiian language and cultural practices, the foundation of our educational programs. Several of the schools, including Hālau Kū Māna, explicitly saw our work as exercising the educational self-determination of our communities. We also aimed to address the historically-rooted inequalities we saw in the mainstream school system. Our school is not exclusive to Native Hawaiian students; we welcome anyone who has a commitment to learn and perpetuate Hawaiian culture.

Amongst the founding members of HKM were parents, young teachers, and community leaders, such as the presidents of both Maunalaha Valley and Papakōlea Community Associations. Hālau Kū Māna also owes its existence to the outreach and support of Kū and Nālei Kahakalau, and the Nā Lei Naʻauao Hawaiian charter school alliance that emerged in 2000. The authors of the founding documents of Hālau Kū Māna were Keola Nakanishi, Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua, Coco Needham, Kalama Cabigon and Evan Beachy. Additionally, Naiʻa Ulumaimalu, Kahualaulani Mick, Jackie Kahoʻokele Burke, Lynette Cruz and others contributed to the planning and implementation documents that led the school’s opening. Countless individuals, ʻohana, and organizations have given Hālau Kū Māna life over the years. In particular, we honor those who have been kumu and advisors to our founders: Kumu John Keola Lake, Papa Mau Piailug, Captain Clay Bertelmann, Kumu Kapi ‘olani Ha‘o, ‘Anakala Eddie Kaanana and Professor Kanalu Young.


Hālau Kū Māna is located on a beautiful campus in the Makiki District of Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu. Surrounded by lush greenery and bordered by a running stream, our campus makes the ideal environment for hands-on education including our on-campus gardens and taro patch.

Inside the classroom, modern, air-conditioned facilities help us learn. Our 1:1 laptop program and campus-wide WIFI internet keep us on the leading edge, even as we keep our roots deep in our history and heritage.

Student Life

Hālau Kū Māna students have a rich and diverse educational experience. Value is placed on exploration and outdoor investigation just as much as book-learning.

10 Year Anniversary Video

OIWI.TV created an amazing video for the tenth anniversary of Hālau Kū Māna. While some of the faces have changed and we move farther from the date of that event, there is great info and manā’o here.


All School Events are being added to the online calendar at this time. Until they are available, you may download the 20-21 Calendar (PDF) here.

Week of Events

Papa Kū Māna


I maika‘i ke kalo i ka ‘ōhā.
"The goodness of the taro is judged by the young plant it produces."

The keiki who are fortunate enough to attend Hālau Kū Māna and graduate become part of something much greater than themselves. We are proud of the small part we play in creating agents of change for Hawai'iʻs future, and custodians of mai nā kūpuna mai.

We canʻt do this alone. Charter schools start the year with a fraction of the per-student funding that a traditional DOE institution does. There are a number of ways we compensate for this shortfall, but the single most important source of funding is you.

Click here to read Po'o Kumuʻs letter on this topic. More than ever we need the help of parents, neighbors, partners, and those who believe in this model.

You can donate using the button below or by viewing Poʻo Kumuʻs message.

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