The design on this garment is inspired by the fresh water of Kāne. During his travels with Kanaloa he opened springs throughout the pae ʻāina (island chain). By one account, Kāne and Kanaloa came from Kahiki and landed first on Kahoʻolawe. From there they went to Kahikinui, Maui and then continued on through the islands. Kanaloa thirsted frequently for ʻawa, which required fresh water to mix. Kāne would oblige by thrusting his koʻokoʻo (staff) into the earth, causing a spring of fresh water to bubble forth. The three circles in this design speak to a particular spring in the land known as Kalana i Hauola (a.k.a. Paliuli, Kānehūnāmoku, ʻĀina lauana a Kāne, ʻĀina wai akua a Kāne, Kahikikū, etc.). This dwelling place of the gods is full of wondrous things, including this life-giving spring known as Ka wai ola a Kāne. Itʻs crystal clear waters can heal disease and bring people back to life, even those whose bodies have been reduced to ashes. The spring is connected to a loko (pond) and has three outlets - one for Kū, one for Kāne, and one for Lono. Through these outlets fish enter the pond. It is said that the mixing of salt and fresh water for pī kai (cleansing or purification by sprinkling said water) is in remembrance of the water of this spectacular spring. Ka wai kena i ka houpo o Kāne - The quenching water in the bosom of Kāne.
From Pukui & Elbert, 1957: "n.v. To ride horseback; horseman, rider. Ka wahine holo lio, the woman rider." Many wahine holo lio could be found on June 11, 1877, the opening day of Kapiʻolani Park, where "high stakes" horse racing was the highlight of the celebrations. The original 140 acres of land set aside for recreation was one of King Kalākaua's many gifts to his people. He named the park after his beloved wife, Queen Kapiʻolani.
The name wana applies to three sea urchin species: Diadema paucispinum, Echinothrix diadema, and Echinothrix calamari. All of them are notorious for their thin black spines, both long and short. The short ones produce toxins that give you plenty ʻeha (pain) if you are unlucky enough to get them in your foot or elsewhere. These poky beauties are found throughout the Indo-Pacific region where they live in the crevices of reef flats. They consume filamentous algae on rocks by scraping it off with their five-toothed jaw. The sweet and fatty gonads of the wana are enjoyed by many. Eaten alone or in combination with other seafoods, wana has a strong and unique flavor. According to the kūpuna, when the kolomona is blooming and the hala fruits are ripe, the wana are ready too. They also knew that crabs and fish are greatly attracted to the smell and taste of wana and used them in a variety of baits. The names hāʻueʻue and pūnohu apply to Heterocentrotus mamillatus, or the slate pencil urchin, nicknamed so because its spines were sometimes used to write on slate blackboards. Another urchin common throughout the Indo-Pacific region, the ones in Hawaiian waters have the reddest spines of all and were sometimes decoratively carved. This species feeds in the same way as wana and is also eaten by people. ʻOiʻoi ʻo waho, ʻono ʻo loko - Poky outside, tasty inside.
The beautifully layered creation epic known as the Kumulipo is a constant source of inspiration for us at Kealopiko. In the Wā ʻAlua, the weke (Goatfish of the family Mullidae) is born in the ocean and is guarded by the wauke (Paper Mullberry, Broussonetia Papyrifera) on land. One of the meanings of weke is to separate or free and according to Mary Kawena Pukui, both the red and light colored weke were offered to the gods to turn away curses. Maybe some of the curses deflected by the offering of weke were the ones sent by shaking kapa (cloth made from the inner bark of the wauke plant) in a certain way, or through using of specific kinds of kapa in kuni rituals. Of the more than 90 kinds of kapa made, some were highly kapu, like hāʻena which was wrapped around kiʻi as malo, or māhuna which was made especially for chiefs. Although kapa is made by many peoples of the Pacific, Hawaiian women broke new ground in the art of dyeing, the impression of watermarks, and the scenting of cloth with vegetable products. At Kealopiko, we liked the idea that wauke is used to make kapa to adorn the human form, and that the scales covering a fish are a kind of adornment as well. I wehi no kuʻu kino - An adornment for my body.
He nanahu mai koe - there will soon be a bite. This ʻōlelo is inspired by the Hawaiian proverb pua ka wiliwili, nanahu ka manō (when the wiliwili blooms, the shark bites). Hawaiians knew that the flowering time of this species coincided with the breeding season of sharks - an excellent illustration of the profound relationship between our kūpuna and their natural world. Today, the wiliwili is under siege by a beetle that destroys its seeds and a gall wasp that kills its leaves - a major challenge for one of the only Hawaiian trees that looses all its leaves in the summer. If this isn't enough, people often mistake it for non-native coral trees. Wiliwili have flowers that range from creamy green to deep orange and yellow to dark orange seeds (not red or white). It is found in the most endangered of Hawaiian habitats, the dry forest.