Papakū Makawalu


Haae wale ka hanauna lolo

  • Papahulihonua,
  • Papahulilani,
  • Papanuihanaumoku

(Kumulipo–Wā ʻUmikūmākolu)

Papakū Makawalu is the ability of our kūpuna to categorize and organize our natural world and all systems of existence within the universe. Papakū Makawalu is the foundation for understanding, knowing, acknowledging, becoming involved with, and 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. 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.


Papahulihonua is inclusive of the earth and ocean. It is the ongoing study of the natural earth and ocean and its development, transformation, and evolution by natural causes.


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.


The Papakū Makawalu team offers a workshop yearly in January. Workshops explore the Papakū Makawalu methodology through the lens of a Hawaiian culture topic. Past workhsop topics have included, but are not limited to mahina, Kāne, Lono, kumulipo, and Haumea. If you would like to receive notices regarding the workshops, please send a request to be added to our email list to

Papakū Makawalu images can be viewed at: