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Kūkulu Kumuhana

Kūkulu Kumuhana

Kūkulu: to build, pile up, a pillar.      Kumu: source, basis, main stalk.     Hana: work, activity.

Kūkulu Kumuhana is a wellbeing framework grounded in a Native Hawaiian worldview. Deeply rooted in our cultural values and traditional strengths, Kūkulu Kumuhana represents the pooling of our collective manaʻo (deep ideas and wisdom) to create a foundation for our work as activist researchers, evaluators, and community members.

The Kūkulu Kumuhana framework was created and is used as an act of Ea (self-determination) to go beyond concepts of wellbeing steeped in Western traditions and markers of success that focus on individual attainment (e.g., physical health and wealth). In the culturally grounded and strengths-based framework, the goal is to create new and radical knowledge based on the wisdom of our ancestors that contributes to realizing just and equitable outcomes for present and future generations of our lāhui kanaka (Native Hawaiian people).

Kūkulu Kumuhana describes six interconnected dimensions of Native Hawaiian wellbeing for ‘ohana (family), kaiāulu (community), and pono systems (thriving), as illustrated below.


Self determination and agency

ʻĀina Momona

Healthy and productive lands and people


Mutually sustaining relationships


Ancestral abundance and collective wealth


Cultural identity and Native intelligence

Ke Akua Mana

Spiritually and sacredness of mana


(Genealogy of the work)

2017 Convening at Kuilima Kūpuna, researchers, scholars, musicians, artists, and administrators joined together in rich discussions based on their unique experiences and perspectives collectively identifying six dimensions to frame Native Hawaiian wellbeing.
2017 Kūkulu Kumuhana: Creating Radical and New Knowledge to Improve Native Hawaiian Wellbeing
2018-2019 Validation and dissemination Venues to validate and disseminate the framework included: Bishop Museum, Native Control of Native Research, Department of Native Hawaiian Health JABSOM, Conferences, Aliʻi Trust Talks. Additionally, the Kūkulu Kumuhana hui conducted a collider event to showcase how the dimensions align with ongoing work. Examples of alignment came from education, social services, and policy.
2018 Kūkulu Kumuhana: Year in Review
2019 Kūkulu Kumuhana Collider: Connect, Practice, Catalyze
2020 Application during the pandemic Although there continued to be opportunities to disseminate the framework, during this period, Liliʻuokalani Trust developed Kūkulu Kumuhana: Native Hawaiian Wellbeing during COVID-19-A Resource. The resource is an example of the application of the dimensions to real world stresses. For example, Ea (Self-determination-having control over your life) included: Make pono choices for you and the lāhui. Stay at home, wash your hands, look out and care for kūpuna and keiki in your ʻohana and neighborhood.
2020 Kūkulu Kumuhana: Native Hawaiian Wellbeing during Covid-19 - A Resource
2020 Indicators and Measures of Wellbeing from Community Conversations
2021 Emerging from the pandemic For many in relational fields that rely on in-person interactions, the pandemic was disruptive to building relationships and trust with clients/students/patients, etc. The Kūkulu Kumuhana hui had the opportunity to conduct two collider events which helped to solidify the need to acknowledge the dimensions in an individual personal as well as professional capacity.
2022 Deeper understanding This gathering provided participants an opportunity to explore the dimensions with Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners through interactive sessions. Micro-collaboration funding was introduced to encourage innovation in using the framework.
2022 Kūkulu Kumuhana Community Report
2023 Expanding knowledge through community use A panel of community members funded as micro-collaborators shared their learnings at the gathering after which three kūpuna shared their reflections on what they heard. In the afternoon, participants self-organized into interest groups to discuss and set next steps to implement wellbeing in their topic areas.
2023 Kūkulu Kumuhana Community Report


Kūkulu Kumuhana Cards


These cards were created at a LT 2019 Youth iHuddle as a representation of the Kūkulu Kumuhana framework. Below are printable PDFs of the Kūkulu Kumuhana Cards with watermark, designed for letter sized paper (8.5" x 11", 4 cards per page). For educational purposes, not for commercial use.

Ea ʻĀina Momona Pilina Waiwai ʻŌiwi Ke Akua Mana

Wellbeing Framework Poster


Wellbeing Framework Poster