World premiere of Raise Hawaiki, Hōkūle‘a symphony by award-winning UH composer


University of Hawaiʻi
SaraLyn Smith, (808) 462-3367
Director of Development, UH Mānoa, UH Foundation
Kelli Abe Trifonovitch, (808) 228-8108
Chief Communications Officer, University of Hawai‘i System
Posted: Mar 21, 2019

Raise Hawaiki composer and UH Manoa lecturer Michael-Thomas Foumai
Raise Hawaiki composer and UH Manoa lecturer Michael-Thomas Foumai
Raise Hawaiki's Hokulea musical theme
Raise Hawaiki's Hokulea musical theme
Raise Hawaiki lyrics are the words of Polynesian voyaging greats.
Raise Hawaiki lyrics are the words of Polynesian voyaging greats.

Link to video and sound (details below):

What: Go aboard the Hōkūle‘a on a symphonic voyage celebrating the legacy of Polynesian voyaging in the world premiere of Raise Hawaiki at Hoʻāla (To Awaken).

The Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra will perform with the O‘ahu Choral society, joined by choirs from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and with choral participation from Kapi‘olani Community College and UH West O‘ahu.

The choirs will be singing the words of Polynesian voyaging greats Eddie Aikau, Nainoa Thompson, Mau Piailug, Sam Kaai and Sam Low.

Who: Raise Hawaiki was composed by UH Mānoa music lecturer Michael-Thomas Foumai, winner of the 2017 American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Foundation (ASCAP) young composer award.

When:  Thursday, March 28, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

Where:  Neal. S. Blaisdell Center Concert Hall

Why: Inspired by the return of Hōkūle‘a from her worldwide voyage Mālama Honua, the large-scale symphonic work brings together Hawai‘i’s major institutions of performance, learning and voyaging, mirroring Hōkūle‘a’s voyages that bring communities together across the planet to embrace and care for their culture and natural environments.

 How:  Tickets may be purchased at:

 Other facts:

  • This performance is, like the Polynesian Voyage Societyʻs Mālama Honua, a 3-year journey and is an historic collaboration of UH Foundation, UH Mānoa Music Department, Polynesian Voyaging Society, O‘ahu Choral Society, Hawai‘i Youth Opera Chorus, UH West O‘ahu, Kapi‘olani Community College, IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre and community choirs.

  • Sponsored in part by the Wallace, Elizabeth and Isabella Wong Family Foundation.

  • The event features a cast of a thousand, including 200 musicians and singers, hula choreographed by Lauren Kanoelani Chang Williams, projection visuals from the Polynesian Voyaging Society/‘Ōiwi TV, historical photos by Sam Low and Dr. Ben Young, artwork by Herbert Kāne and voyager Hana Yoshihata and a pre-show performance from IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre.

  • Brahm’s Requiem will also be performed that night as part of Hoʻāla.


BROLL: (2:10)

Raise Hawaiki being played over video montage with sheet music

Composer Michael-Thomas Foumai plays piano with Raise Hawaiki sheet music

Small ensemble plays small portion of Raise Hawaiki at Polynesian Voyaging Society Gala in 2017. (Foumai on violin)

Animation of Hōkūle‘a theme with sound

Montage of Raise Hawaiki with lyrics

4 shots aboard Hōkūle‘a


Michael-Thomas Foumai, Raise Hawaiki composer, UH Mānoa lecturer (:11)

“I hope the audience will take away from the experience of listening to this symphony, as if they were aboard Hōkūle‘a, as if they journeyed around the world.”

Foumai (:20)

“Raise Hawaiki started as a dream, really it is a symphony for a chorus and orchestra, but it’s so much more than that. It began with the idea as a piece that could celebrate the return of the Hōkūle‘a from their Mālama Honua worldwide voyage.”

Voice of Michael-Thomas Foumai over animation of Hōkūle‘a theme( :16)

“The shape and contour of the theme are constructed to outline the hull of the canoe, as well as the outline of the sails.  The entire work opens with a double presentation of the theme, first in the brass, then in the strings.”