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Papakū Makawalu

Haae wale ka hanauna lolo,
o Papahulihonua,
o Papahulilani,
o Papanuihanaumoku

(Kumulipo – Wā ʻUmikūmākolu)


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Papakū Makawalu is the ability of our kupuna to categorize and organize our natural world and all systems of existence within the universe. Papakū Makawalu is the foundation to understanding, knowing, acknowledging, becoming involved with, but most importantly, becoming the experts of the systems of this natural world.

Papakū Makawalu connotes the dynamic Hawaiian worldview of the physical, intellectual and spiritual foundations from which life cycles emerge. Papakū Makawalu is an abstract from Wā ‘Umikūmākolu (section 13) of the Kumulipo. Wā ‘Umikūmākolu begins with Palikū and Paliha‘a, the male and female ancestors of Haumea. Haumea is the ancestor credited for the pedagogy of categorizing and organizing the natural world. The categorizing and organizing of the natural world was divided into three houses of knowledge and the combination of the three houses of knowledge is Papakū Makawalu.

The three major houses of knowledge are foundations for understanding existence and our place in it:

  • Papahulilani is the space from above the head to where the stars sit. It is inclusive of the sun, moon, stars, planets, winds, clouds, and the measurement of the vertical and horizontal spaces of the atmosphere. It is also a class of experts who are spiritually, physically, and intellectually attuned to the space above and its relationship to the earth.
  • Papahulihonua is inclusive of earth and ocean. It is the ongoing study of the natural earth and ocean and its development, transformation and evolution by natural causes. It is also a class of experts who are spiritually, physically, and intellectually attuned to this earth and its relationship to the space above and the life forms on it.
  • Papahānaumoku moves from the embryonic state of all life forces to death. It is the birthing cycle of all flora and fauna inclusive of man. It is the process of investigating, questioning, analyzing and reflecting upon all things that give birth, regenerate and procreate. It is also a class of experts who are spiritually, physically and intellectually attuned to things born and the habitat that provides their nourishment, shelter, and growth.

Papakū Makawalu is a methodical presentation of a holistic preview of the Hawaiian universe and has the distinction of working with the following organizations:

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

IUCN World Conservation Congress Hawaiʻi 2016

Google X and Hokulea Worldwide Voyage

Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Public Charter School

Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate

Ka ʻAha Hula ʻo Hālauaola

Punahou School

Kohala Center Mellon-Hawaii Fellowship

First Nations Futures’ Program

County of Hawaiʻi

Papakū Makawalu images can be viewed at: http://papaku.smugmug.com