Palaha Hawaiian Cultural Center at the The Grand Wailea resort opened on February 6 and was celebrated with a grand opening reception that featured kukulu kumuhana (an intention-setting ceremony) led by the Grand Wailea cultural team. Palaha – described as a new immersive environment for Hawaiian learning, lifestyle, and connection – will host daily cultural experiences and showcase cultural works of art alongside collections of pre- and post-contact artifacts on a rotating basis.
“For the first time since opening our doors in 1991, Hawaiian culture has a physical home here at Grand Wailea,” said Kainoa Horcajo, director of culture at Grand Wailea. “In ‘olelo Hawai’i, palaha means to spread out, encompass, to share far and wide. From here, culture spreads and permeates throughout the resort and beyond, hosting authentic experiences for guests, integrating and enhancing culture within every department, and encompassing connections into the greater Maui community.”
Palaha currently features the Na Aloha ‘Aina portrait series by renowned artist Guillem “Avi Molinas” Bort, depicting Hawaiian royalty and significant figures in history. Complementing the portrait collection are select artifacts on loan from the Hale Ho’ike’ike at the Bailey House Museum, including the Dr. Arthur C. Rothrock Oak Bench, a replica of a traditional chief’s helmet and weapons, and an actual pre-contact lei niho palaoa (a lei worn by ali‘i, commonly made with a whale tooth and human hair), one of five in existence from Maui.
“Hawaiian culture and the perpetuation of our ways is not just what defines us and makes us unique in all the world, it is what sustains us,” said Horcajo. “We are honored and humbled to display such precious pieces and iconic portraits within Palaha at Grand Wailea and beyond grateful to Avi, his ‘ohana, and Hale Ho’ike’ike for their partnership and trust.”
The center is open to guests Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.