Papa Hehi A Kanileʻa

Introducing the first non-stringed instrument produced by Kanileʻa, the Papa Hehi. This native Hawaiian Hula implement predates the ʻukulele by hundreds of years, and is an implement in traditional Hula. In Hawaiian, Papa means “board” and Hehi means “to step on it”, and in English it is sometimes known as a Treadle Board.

Sound Demo

Hawaiian history has been passed on through the generations, and there are many stories about the origin of the Papa Hehi. It is believed to have come originally from the islands of Niʻihau and Kauaʻi, and over the centuries the practice of Papa Hehi has spread throughout the archipelago through traditional Hula lineages.

Implements are used as a form of elevation, requiring the dancers to coordinate their bodies and voices to perform the mele – which in the case of the Papa Hehi is quite difficult to master, making it a special implement and practice in traditional Hula.

Each Papa Hehi is made from the same Koa that Kanileʻa uses for our stringed instruments, ensuring that we use every piece available to us to minimize waste of this precious and beautiful wood. Using processes modified from building our other instruments, we work with Kumu Hula Cody Pueo Pata to ensure tradition is honored and respected for these beautiful implements.


Kumu Hula Cody Pueo Pata And The Papa Hehi