wwwForemost, we greet you as your hosts to this magical place of peace and pleasure! We would like to share a bit about our magnificent life and the gifts we have to offer. We’ve taught and performed internationally for many years, and now we’ve made ourselves more available at our home on Maui. We are currently enjoying mentoring our students and volunteers and leading private retreat sessions for our clients and guests. Once a year Kutira leads a retreat in Bhutan, which you might have on your bucket list.
If you feel inspired, feel free to contact us. Of course, you can also deepen your knowledge about our body of work at www.KahuaInstitue.com, offerings and listen to our musical work at Kahua Records.
Kutira’s perseverance to manifest visions will inspire you. This is her greatest secret.
Born and raised in Switzerland, Kutira traveled for many years internationally, lived in India for two years while studying with tantric masters, and ultimately settled in Maui in 1985 as a Tantra Master Teacher. Kutira is an Embodied Spirituality teacher, body-mind psychotherapist, author of “The Lightness of Body and Being,” musician, social entrepreneur, and founder of the Kahua Hawaiian Institute. She is known for her diplomatic skills to gracefully connect people internationally to support a vision of living in kindness and harmony while sharing precious skills with a larger community of like-minded people.
Kutira worked with Dr. John Lilly, world-renowned scientist and dolphin researcher, from 1988 to 2001, where they created the program “A Dolphin and Whale Adventure in Consciousness”. As an Oceanic Tantra teacher, she connected the natural undulatory movements of dolphins and whales with conscious breath, and explored these embodied practices when swimming with these magical marine animals. She has had many profound experiences swimming with dolphins and whales around the world. With her husband Raphael, she has created several volumes of music inspired by dolphins, among them the albums “The Calling” and “Angels of the Deep”, which John Lilly called the “cetacean nation anthem”.
As a nurturer of the earth, Kutira is an “environmental spiritual activist.” As a founding member of Bamboo Technology, she was instrumental in 1998 to gain State approval for bamboo to be used as an alternative building supply. Kutira’s vision embraced bamboo as the sustainable lumber of the future, and in 2013, she became the recipient of the Bamboo Pioneer Award. She is passionately involved in supporting green building and the expansion of sustainability in America and Asia.
In the past 20 years, her passion focused on empowering women and organizations that support ecological, sustainable, and spiritual education. Her deep karmic relationship with the country of Bhutan and its people allows her to lead a yearly retreat into the magical land of the fire dragon. She serves on the advisory board of the Bhutan Nuns Foundation under the Patronage and initiative of Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Tshering Yangdoen Wangchuck.
Kutira is a founder and continuing board member of Food Security Hawaii. She has been a mentor to many students and teachers, and now dedicates a large part of her time to create food security and total self-sufficiency for the islands of Hawaii, creating a global blueprint for a sustainable future and ecotourism. In 2019, she created an innovative agroforestry garden, which continues to provide a bounty of organic, native staple foods, and shares teachings about permaculture and tropical farming to support grower education.
Drawing from her rich Hawaiian halau training and on a more personal note, Kutira specializes in weddings, land blessings, and other ceremonies. With over 30 years of experience, she is licensed by the State of Hawaii and is sure to provide a magical experience, channeling years of devotion into each ceremony. She has a natural talent for bringing mature love into a ceremony while providing an engaging experience for all.
Kutira and her husband of 30 years are passionate about the ever-growing vision of the Maui Eco Retreat. Raphael creating and teaching music, Kutira creating beauty in every moment, her vision for community fuels her unwavering passion to share this abundant land and knowledge with the world.
When Raphael walks into a room, he exudes a sense of richness and authenticity. Although playful and creative, he is devoted to his long-term career as a composer, musician, and teacher. Raised in the 1940s and ’50s by a Psychic mother and an American Indian shaman named Chief Bushy Head, he tends to speak in a down-home Oklahoma way. This gives him a unique talent for teaching in a clear and simple way those things that appear to be complicated. Clear meaning easy to understand, Simple meaning easy to duplicate.
Among other things, Raphael is a world-renowned pioneer of new age music and has performed at hundreds of workshops and Shamanic events. He has a talent for intuitively downloading original music that adds an essential magic to any occasion. Having had his first near-death experience at the age of 5, it is no accident that his most famous album is “Music to Disappear In” with hundreds of letters coming at him saying “The last thing my mother (brother, grandfather, etc.) heard was your album over and over”. By the time he was thirteen, he freely composed concertos and fugues in the style of Vivaldi. With many compositions on Youtube and at Kahua Records, you can hear that Raphael is a unique master of all styles of music from African to classical, with the exception of cool jazz and big band—genres he claims to be allergic to.
His motto is “The sole purpose of music is none other than the glorification of God and the nourishment of souls”. With this perspective as his north star, he has naturally been led to have played for and assisted numerous alternative healers and shamans such as Fritz Pearls, Dr. John Lily, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Gabriel Roth, Marianne Williamson, Gary Zukav, and the list goes on. With 50 years of these experiences, he has been at the cutting edge of exploring the art of music healing and how music and sound affect the chemicals and immune system of the human body.
With his beloved wife of 30 years, he is presently teaching Embodied Spirituality: “where ancient tradition meets cutting edge science.” For the past 40 years, he has done thousands of private intuitive readings and is famous for his “Psychic Readings Set to Music”. He is presently creating a video series called “Transformational Music Lessons and the Art of Music Healing.”
Our Little Guardians of the Land
Mochi and Dawa are our little Tibetan spaniels and protectors of the land, and although they are small, their energy field is larger than that of German Shepherds. You are likely to see them, happy faces aglow, roaming over the land or sleeping in the garden beds. Feel free to say hi- they’re very friendly.
When Kutira and Raphael first set foot on this land in 1988, it was a piece of pure jungle: no roads, no electricity, no buildings. Their pioneering journey to create what is now the Maui Eco Retreat—a green, sustainable blueprint that can be used by generations to come—started at the very beginning, with the most basic aspects of what we call civilization.
As they explored the land further, they felt its deep resonance and knew that it was a place of intense spirit. They discovered an ancient sacred circle, tended to with care. These stones rest still on the lawn in front of the Opua House. Even the name of the land on the deed, “resting place of mature souls,” speaks to the land’s spiritual power.
When the land was blessed by a Kahuna (a Hawaiian priest), he gave it the name of Kahua O’Malio. In Hawaiian, this phrase translates to “place of happiness and pleasure named after Malio, a mythical woman renowned for music and love magic.”
The Dance of Earth & Spirit
“The Dance of Earth & Spirit” chronicles the life of Kutira and Raphael, and their quest for true sustainability. With a mélange of both historical and new footage, a remote part of Maui transforms into an ecological paradise by merging ancient traditions with cutting edge science, driven by the power of Spiritual Embodiment. Discovering the ecological miracle of bamboo, they built the first permitted bamboo house on U.S. soil. In sharing their story, they give you practical steps to start your journey to true sustainability. “The Dance of Earth & Spirit” honors Mother Earth in creating a sustainable blueprint for generations searching for their Eco-Soul.
We invite you to watch the movie for free here.
Valley of the White Owl and Kaulanapueo Church
Turning from the Hana Highway towards the ocean and our retreat, you enter the landmark “Door of Faith” road, which passes the Kaulanaupeo Church. This historic site, which was also the official polling place for the community of this valley, was built in the 19th century and has served the people of this area ever since. The Kaulanapueo Church was built in 1853, during the rein of King Kamehameha III, on the hillside overlooking what is now known as Waipio Bay. This historic Protestant church is still used for worship, with services in the Hawaiian language.
The name Kaulanapueo translates to “famous owl,” in recognition of the many owls that nested in the nearby lauhala (pandanus) trees. Divers took the coral blocks used for its construction from an area called “manu wai,” which translates to “where the sea birds living in the cliff side caves join and drink the fresh stream water.”
At the site upon which the rocks were separated, the people of Hawaii elected to build a shrine. The stones that made up the shrine were called “Hale Ali’i” and represented the heart of the Hawaiian people. It was comprised of seven major stones, the largest of which was set at the head. The other stones represented, in part: Hard Work, Generosity, Integrity, and Life Expansion. The stones also correlated with the Christian teaching of earth’s creation by God in seven days.
Upon its completion, the Kaulanapueo Church was dedicated to OIE, The King of Life, indicating that all the fruits of life are ripe. Following the Sugar Cane era, Kaulanpueo was surrounded by a pineapple plantation run by the Libby company. There was a “village” with hundreds of residents and a school for the local children who worked on the plantation.
A New Maui
In 2019, Hawaii reached a record high for tourism, with over 66,000 visitors a day. With the effects of mass tourism and impact of climate change on our fragile island, our community started to raise questions about sustainability: How can we be more conscious about tourism? How can we protect our environment? How can we create food security when 85%+ of our food is imported?
As history will tell, the Coronavirus hit us strong and gave us 20/20 vision.
Tourism to Hawai’i stopped abruptly and our economy crashed, which led to the highest unemployment rate in the entire US.
Our business shut down in March of 2020 in the midst of the high season, and we weren’t able to welcome guests for the rest of the year. Suddenly, it felt as if we were back to 1985, when we first arrived: the beaches were empty, the oceans clean, and the island breathed. Nature was finally in balance.
In the long stretch that we haven’t been in business, we have redefined our vision for ecotourism and recommitted ourselves to living harmoniously with the Aina (the spirit of the land) and honoring the culture and history of the island.
We are dedicating our place as a refuge for the Responsible Traveler. We particularly enjoy welcoming visitors who are conscious of the land and the community, dedicated to sustainability, would like to stay longer, can book directly on our website, and want to explore the art of Embodied Spirituality and Sustainability.
We have also improved our accommodations, enhanced our cleaning protocols, and committed ourselves to creating food security with our organic vegetable garden, innovative agroforestry garden, exotic fruit orchards, and video tutorials on growing your own food.
To create a restorative retreat experience, we are delighted to offer daily yoga classes, as well as other weekly teachings. We hope you take advantage of these exclusive offerings to connect with your true self and explore our sacred land to restore your relationship with nature.
We look forward to welcoming you and trust that you will have a fulfilling visit that nurtures your body, mind, and soul. The aloha spirit and culture of Hawaii is incredibly rich, and the location that you have chosen is in rhythm with the old ways.
We as your hosts are dedicated to making your stay a memorable experience. On behalf of all who are currently blessing us with their presence, we welcome you!
Kutira & Raphael
Family, Staff, and Mochi & Dawa our Tibetan Angels
Protecting Maui Through Sustainability
At Maui Eco Retreat, you will find the serenity you seek knowing you are safe in our care and aligned with the A'ina: the spirit of the land.