Nā Papahana Projects

Hale Mua Initiative

The Hale Mua Initiative addresses the issues of socio-cultural disconnectedness and increased health risks among Native Hawaiian kāne by establishing Hale Mua (men's houses) in three Native Hawaiian communities--Keaukaha, Papakōlea, and Wai‘anae. While the Hale O Papa (women's house) and Hale Aina (women's eating house) were the spaces where females gathered and reared little boys, the Hale Mua was the socio-cultural institution for religious services, political matters concerning the community, and perpetuation of traditional cultural practices and beliefs. This included customary rituals associated with boys growing into productive, contributing men in society. It implies teaching gender roles and responsibilities, customs, life skills, proper behavior and conduct, and guidance and support of spiritual growth.

The Hale Mua was the institution where Hawaiian men learned the roles and responsibilities of being a successful father, husband, and warrior, and basic occupations like farming and fishing. Elders and master practitioners served as educators. This emphasized moral character development and adherence to kapu (taboos) governing forbidden or inappropriate behavior. The education received in the Hale Mua also encouraged the preservation and maintenance of mana (power). By sustaining one's mana, each kāne fulfilled his kuleana (responsibilities) by honoring his kūpuna (elders).

This project aims to proactively reestablish intergenerational traditions in contemporary Hawaiian communities so today's kāne prepare ‘ōpio (young men) for roles as contributing members of society.

The Hale Mua Initiative is made possible by funding from the Administration for Native Americans, the Queen Lili‘uokalani Trust, the Atherton Family Foundation, and the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.