MOODETTE KA'APANA / 1954 – 2015

Kumu hula’s passion kept alive Hawaiian culture, art in Seattle

By Rosemarie Bernardo /

Kumu hula Moodette Ka'apana perpetuated the art of hula and the Native Hawaiian culture in Seattle, where she was revered by many.

Ka'apana died April 7 in Seattle. She was 60.

Moodette Kaapana. Photo credit is Kalehua Kaapana.

Born and raised in Kailua, Ka'apana, affectionately known as "Auntie Moody," moved to Seattle after she graduated from Sacred Hearts Academy in 1972. She attended Seattle University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in social sciences.

Friends and family say hula was her passion. As a youngster she was part of Maiki Aiu Lake's halau in Honolulu. She participated in hula competitions and taught hula to students at Seattle University. In 1989 she opened Pulamahia Hula Academy.

She studied under kumu hula Mae Kamamalu Klein and became a kumu hula in the summer of 1994.\0x2008Ka'apana also helped her sister, Jaydeen Robinson, become a kumu hula.

Her husband, Douglas, described her as very giving. "She gave with a lot of aloha," he said in a phone interview from Seattle.

Longtime friend Stephen Gomes -- who co-hosted a radio show, "Hawaii Radio Connection," on KBCS 91.3 FM and KXPA 1540 AM in Seattle, with Ka'apana -- said she was a smart and fun-loving person.

She had a wonderful sense of humor, he added.

Ka'apana was among the first students of hula in Washington state to attain the title of kumu hula, according to Gomes. "We benefited tremendously from her acumen, from what she was able to learn and teach," said Gomes, who moved to Washington from Hawaii in 1991.

"She taught me the Hawaiian culture," he added. "She taught me about how important it is to do things pono, to do things the right way."

Gomes said she wanted to make sure younger generations of Hawaiians born and raised in Seattle learn about their culture.

Friends and family say Ka'apana will be best remembered for her giving nature. "She touched so many lives," Gomes said.

Ka'apana is also survived by daughter Kalehuamakamaiikapolipilipa'a.

Services were held in Washington.

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased