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About Kahu Lanakila Brandt


Kahu Lanakila
Photograph used with Permission - MJ Hardin, Voices of Wisdom


Kahu Lanakila Brandt was a consecrated Kahuna Pule “Temple Priest,” of Pu’uhonua O Honaunau’s 15th Century heiau (temple), Hale O Keawe and Kahuna La’au Kahea “Master of Spiritual Healing.”  He was an accredited teacher of the Mo’o Lono order who taught Spiritual Healing and Empowerment Ritual for more than 60 years in Hawai’i. 

Lanakila was a man of vision, grace, and compassion, and through his generous sharing, profound healing, and inspiring wisdom, he touched the lives of so many around the world.  For those of us blessed with being able to spend any amount of time with him, it was almost impossible not to be changed for the better.

Kahu Lanakila passed from this life on December 2, 2005.  While he has passed from this life, his influence is still strong. 


The following is excerpted from a newspaper article written
by Oiva and Mary Koski

"Eia ka ula la, he ulaleo, he mohai, he mohai,
he kanaenae"
means a lifetime of dedication, study,
devotion, hard work and sacrifice.  To be a Kahuna - A 
Spiritual Cultural Master of the old, a keeper of the 
secrets and the source of knowledge.  Meet...

Kahu Lanakila Brandt

You are chosen to be a kahuna by others at an early age.  You might not be aware of it except that your great-grandfather might have talked to you about many things when you were a child.  Stories, chants, and ceremonies about the mysteries of the past, all in privacy, not to be talked about with others.  That is what happened to Lanakila some 60 years ago.

Imagine a little boy with bright blue eyes looking up into the brown eyes of his great-grandfather.  "You are the one I've been waiting for ---".  Great-grandfather Kehauleo Waiwaiole passed to this little boy all of the Hawaiian lore he had been storing up for just such a one.  Lanakila spent as much time as he possibly could at his great-grandfather's taro farm in Kalihiuka.  Great-grandfather did not encourage conversation, but poured out his knowledge, and Lanakila, obedient and respectful soaked it up like a sponge.

With his great-grandfather, he visited many Hawaiian men of importance who accepted him because he was Kehauleo's grandson and who also, informally, became his teachers.  Kilipaki Kanaele, Solomona Naea of Kalihi, Oahu and most importantly, Uncle Joe Hala'ole of Kaimuki, a very notable kuma hula, who became his first hula teacher.

"As the twig is bent, so grows the tree" applies very well to this story because the little twig that was Lanakila was set in its direction well before he was 10 years old.  When Lanakila was 11, his family moved to California where he was given the usual conventional education.  He graduated from UCLA with a degree in journalism and a Doctor of Divinity from Brantwood Forest University in England.  In 1940 the old memories of Hawaii called and he returned to the islands.

In the mid-'40's he began following his path again and had started studying seriously with a kahuna laau lapa'au on Kauai.  He later became the ardent student of Luka Kinolau, a kahuna lapa'au (healing prestess).  Kahuna Kinolau was a kahuna of historic stature.  Lanakila had known her as a child and was now to gain much knowledge and be carried far along his spiritual road by her teaching.

In the early 50's he married and moved to Hilo where he lived in Keokaha.  He was by then very well versed in the Hula Auwana - the secular ancient hula.  He took his troop to Tahiti and over a period of time spent a total of two years studying dance there and in other parts of Polynesia.  His troop gained a definite Tahitian flair and became an instant success.  Over the years they traveled to the Orient, throughout Polynesia on an Inter-cultural exchange, and in 1963 they represented all of Polynesia in the International Dance Festival in Sarsari, Sardinia.  At the close of the dance festival, they teamed up with the Ballet Africaine and made a successful tour of Europe before returning to Oahu.

Three years later, Lanakila came to Kona.  This move coincided with the easing of restrictions on ancient philosophy.  It was now possible for a kahuna to bring their identities and practices into the open.

Lanakila decided to retire from public life in the mid-70's and devote all of his energy to the work of a kahuna, his halau and the two or three hundred requests for counseling that come his way every year.  As the spiritual leader of the temple Hale-O-Lono, he and his halau also perform the temple rites at Hale-O-Keawe, mail heiau at Pu'uhonua O Honaunau (previously known as City of Refuge).  Uninvited guests should not try to attend these rites.  They are serious and private - the temple is ringed with husky Hawaiian guards bearing business-like spears.  Kahu Lanakila says he doesn't know if the guards would use them, but then, they have never been challenged.

Lanakila Brandt is a tall man with a certain reserve that befits his standing as kahuna and a physical grace that comes from many years of dance.  That he is well educated, many faceted man is obvious from only a few minutes conversation.

Kahu Lanakila, as he is internationally known, is said to be "the native Hawaiian mysteries scholar most widely known and respected by the world 'Huna community".  Of the kahu and his teachings, a leading American commentator wrote: "You are the bridge to lead us to deeper levels of awareness within ourselves."

A lifetime native religionist and fluent Hawaiian (dialect) speaker, the kahu served as language, tradition and spiritual consultant to late 'Huna authors, Max Freedom Long (SECRET SCIENCE BEHIND MIRACLES) and Leinani Melville Jones (CHILDREN OF THE RAINBOW).  He has spearheaded the pacesetting Kahanahou Hawaiian Foundation through over a quarter century's growth and community service.




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