Ka Waʻa Kaulua

E ʻole ia mea he waʻa kaulua, hōʻea mai ai ko kākou poʻe kūpuna i nei mau mokupuni ʻoi kelakela o ka nani, kahi hoʻi o ko kākou hoʻoheno ʻana i nā kaha a pau loa mai Kumukahi a hiki aku i Lehua. Lehia nō hoʻi nā paʻa moʻolelo a me nā haku mele ma ka hoʻopaʻa ʻana i nā ʻano ʻike like ʻole no ka hiki ʻana mai o nā akua, nā kupua, a me nā kānaka. No Kahiki mai ʻo Pele, mai ka ʻākau mai nō naʻe, me ona pōkiʻi aloha he nui, a ua helu papa ʻia nā ʻāina a lākou i ʻike aku ai mai Nīhoa a hiki i Hawaiʻi. Pēlā ka loaʻa ʻana mai o nā lua Pele ma nā mokupuni a pau, a no laila na ka waʻa o Pele ka ʻāina hou, ke kumu paha o kekahi manaʻo o waʻa: he kahena pele nui e holo wale ana i kai. Mai ka hema mai ka holo ʻana mai o Pāʻao mā, me ka lawe pū mai i nā mea hou i Hawaiʻi nei. Pēlā pū ʻo Mōʻīkeha a me kāna keiki, ʻo Laʻamaikahiki, nāna mai ke kāʻekeʻeke a me kekahi mau ʻano hula. Kaulana lāua me kona kaikaina, me Kila, i ka holo moana ʻana. ʻAʻole lā he hiki mai a noho paʻa wale nō. He holo aku holo mai ka hana a ua mau kūpuna nei. Mai ka ʻākau mai, mai ka hema mai nō paha, ʻo kahi mea ʻike mau ʻia, ʻo ia ka hoʻonoho ʻia aku o nā lālā ʻohana ma nā wahi he nui, a pēlā nō i kapa ʻia ai nā inoa ʻāina he nui wale mai Hawaiʻi a Niʻihau. Na ka waʻa kaulua nā nani he nui.

The waʻa kaulua defines our origins as Hawaiian people. Chiefess Luʻukia voyaged with her husband ʻOlopana to Tahiti and took chief Mōʻīkeha as a punalua (second husband). After hearing a false rumor that Mōʻīkeha had publicly insulted her womanly parts, she bound herself in cordage, navel to mid thighs, never sharing herself with him again. This lashing, ka pāʻū o Luʻukia (Luʻukia's skirt), is used on canoes and water gourds to this day. Heartbroken, Mōʻīkeha sailed to Hawaiʻi. His sons Laʻamaikahiki and Kila made multiple trips between the two island groups. Laʻa brought the kāʻekeʻeke and certain hula to Hawaiʻi. The voyages of our ancestors shaped our practices, relationships, and genealogies. Relationships are still central to voyaging. During Makaliʻi's recent voyage to Nīhoa and Mokumanamana, this ʻohana strengthened their relationship to ʻāina (that which sustains) by provisioning their canoe entirely with food grown and caught in Hawaiʻi. Through oli (chant) and protocol they strengthened their relationships to the elements and those they petitioned for guidance and protection. We dedicate this design to them and to our dear friend Dean Kealoha Hoe, a voyager whose generosity and aloha lives on in all those whose lives he touched. E ola!

Wahine Holo Lio

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.

Weke | Wauke

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.

Ka Wai O Maui Hikina

Life's interconnectedness is beautifully represented in a stream flowing freely from mountain to ocean. Water means life for people, plants and animals - all part of a complex web of relationships held in balance by one traditional rule: Take only what you need. In 1876, Alexander & Baldwin (A&B), whose founders played important roles in the overthrow of Hawaiʻi's government, began building a water diversion system that now totals 74 miles of ditches and tunnels and 388 separate intakes drawing from 120 streams, transporting 160 to 450 million gallons of water per day from East Maui to their now waning sugarcane operations in central Maui. This is more than all of Oʻahu consumes daily! Our water code says it is illegal to divert so much that it harms "downstream users" i.e. kalo farmers and people who fish and gather for subsistence. Taking all the water in a stream disrupts the life cycles of ʻoʻopu, ʻōpae, hīhīwai and any species that has a larval stage in the ocean or spawns in brackish water. The delicate web begins to fall apart along with our ability to eat our traditional foods and practice our culture. A balance point must be reached in the use of the wai. We raise our voices and stand in solidarity with groups like Nā Moku Aupuni O Koʻolau Hui who have been fighting this issue for over 20 years. To learn more go to: http://eolaikawai.weebly.com
E hoʻokuʻu ʻia ka wai - Let the water be released.

Wahine Noho Mauna

In wet to mesic rainforests, near bogs, in mats of moss, on trees or at their bases and in little kīpolipoli (nooks and crannies) from about 980 to 4,200 feet elevation on our high islands lives one of Hawaiʻi's humblest, yet most splendid endemic ferns. Named wahine noho mauna (literally mountain-dwelling woman) by our kūpuna, Adenophorus tamariscinus actually has two varieties: var. montanus, which occurs on Molokai, Maui and Hawaiʻi, and var. tamariscinus found on all the main islands. Move too quickly and you might just miss this stunning little beauty whose fronds are only 3-8 inches long. Their finely divided nature gives them a delicate and pleasing appearance. These ferns are not solitary; they like a little company and usually grow together in clusters. Wahine noho mauna is also a good friend of the ʻōhiʻa (Metrosideros polymorpha), often growing on or at the base of these beautiful trees, one of the keystone species of Hawaiian forests. Because ferns are one of the first things to disappear when the ground is disturbed by pigs and other feral animals, the presence of this species is a sign of a healthy forest. Kou oho hine e kupu haʻa maila -
Your splendid frond sprouting humbly.


The jagged lava fields of Honuaʻula in the midday sun, the immovable strength of majestic Haleakalā, the heart-stirring beauty of the chilly ʻūkiu rain of Makawao, these are what shaped this puʻuwai haokila (heart strong as steel) of Kūhulu, a true Maui native who loved his nation and people so much he was willing to fight and die for them. Robert William Kalanihiapo Wilcox took up arms to defend what he held dear, however, non-violence was the path Queen Liliʻuokalani felt was best. Recognized early in life for his intellectual prowess and accomplishments, Wilikoki was chosen for Kalākaua's Hawaiian Youths Abroad Program and trained at the Royal Military Academy in Turin, Italy. His first rebellion was in 1889, in an effort to rid the nation of the illegal Bayonet constitution forced upon Kalākaua at gunpoint. Although this short battle ended with his surrender, Hawaiians everywhere had a new hero to hold dear: ka hiʻipoi a ka lāhui. After the overthrow of 1893, a group of staunch royalists were ready to fight for Liliʻu's restoration to the throne and Wilikoki agreed to lead them into battle. This second rebellion was fought mainly at Laeʻahi and Mānoa and countless songs were composed in honor of the valiance of these loyal patriots. Ka Pūkonakona O Nā Moku - The brave one of the islands.

Ka Wai Ola a Kāne

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.

Wana & Hāʻueʻue/Pūnohu

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.


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.


Don't let the name "rat's foot" throw you off. This limu (seaweed), and the fern ally by the same name have lots of flavor to offer to life. Wāwaeʻiole is the name used for a couple species of Hawaiian Codium, C. edule being the most common. This indigenous limu is found throughout the Pacific and can be eaten raw or cooked. It was often pounded with salt and left to sit, yielding a rich red sauce good for iʻa maka (raw fish) and other dishes. High in minerals, limu was (and still is) an important part of the Hawaiian diet, consumed daily by some folks. In fact, historically, Hawaiians consumed more limu than any other Pacific people. Women were often the ones to collect these delicate and delectable sea plants from near shore areas, each species having its own unique texture and flavor. Limu wāwaeʻiole is paired with ʻalaʻalawainui (Peperomia spp.) in the Kumulipo (our most extensive chant of creation). However, Lycopodium venustulum is an indigenous fern ally that also carries the name wāwaeʻiole. It is used in hana aloha, or love magic, i hōʻiole mau ke aloha i loko - so that love is always held fast within. Whether food or love, it seems wāwaeʻiole can get that ʻono (flavor) your puʻu is craving: E hōʻonoʻono mai - Make it tasty.

Watermark Kapa / Ka Nao Hoʻōki

Ke hoʻōla hou ʻia kekahi hana Hawaiʻi, ʻo ka pahuhopu nui, e hoʻōla pū ʻia mai kona mau huaʻōlelo kūpono. ʻAʻole naʻe ia he niau palanehe wale nō me ka maʻalahi loa. I kekahi manawa, he loaʻa liʻiliʻi mai nā huaʻōlelo i loko o ke au ʻana o ka manawa. Pēia nō paha ka huaʻōlelo no ia mea he “watermark.” Ke waiho nei nō kekahi mau inoa lau ponoʻī (maka ʻupena, iwi puhi, a pēlā aku), ʻaʻohe naʻe huaʻōlelo hoʻokahi i maopopo no ia huina lau. I nānā aku ka hana i ke kumu, ua loaʻa kā kekahi mea kūpono paha: ʻo ka nao hoʻōki. E kaulona aku i kā Kamakau no ka āio (grooves) a me ka nao (ridges or raised areas) o ka iʻe kuku: “...inā he iʻe kuku pepehi, he iʻe kuku nunui ia o ka nao, a ʻo ka iʻe kuku hoʻopaʻi o ke kapa, he ʻuʻuku iho ka nao, a ʻo ka iʻe kuku hoʻōki, a hoʻomaikaʻi loa i ke kapa he makaliʻi loa ia, he kahuahāʻao (uahāʻao), he ʻolē, he mole, he uananahuki a me nā nao hoʻōki he lehulehu a ka poʻe loea kuku...” ʻO ia mau nao hōʻike he lehulehu i ʻōlelo ʻia aʻela, na ke kahuna hole iʻe kuku ia o ka wā ma mua. Ke waiho nei ma nā iʻe kuku he 650 o ka Hale Hōʻikeʻike o Bīhopa a he kupanaha maoli nō ke nānā aku. Ma hope o ka hiki ʻana mai o ka haole me kona lole kīnohinohi, māhuahua aʻela nā lau like ʻole o ka nao hoʻōki. ʻO ka uahāʻao naʻe paha kekahi nao hoʻōki kahiko i laha i ka wā ma mua: “...ke kīhei uahāʻao i kuku ʻia e ko Hawaiʻi nei, a ua kapa ʻia e ka poʻe kahiko a hiki iho nei i kēia hanauna, ua ʻōlelo mau ʻia ia kapa he uahāʻao. ʻAʻole nō paha i nalowale kekahi o ia kapa i waena o kēia lāhui e noho nei i kēia wā ma nā ʻāina kuaʻāina.” (Kepakaʻiliʻula, 1865)

It’s hard to believe that cloth made from the inner bark of a small tree can range from lace and gossamer to corduroy and canvas, but Hawaiian kapa truly runs the gamut of types and textures. The finer, more lightweight varieties of kapa bear the dazzling and sophisticated feature unique to Hawaiian bark cloth: the watermark. These are textural patterns seen only when the cloth is held up to the light. They are carved into the iʻe kuku (four-sided beater) and beat into the kapa in its final stage of manufacture. The wauke fibers must be retted (broken down through a process akin to fermentation) in order to be soft and yielding enough to receive and hold these delicate markings. Wauke varieties such as poʻaʻaha and mālolo are best for watermarking, as the thick, coarse fibers of wauke nui do not ret well. Roughly a dozen or so geometric motifs have been used in a huge range of combinations by Hawaiian carvers to produce a fascinating array of watermark patterns, best seen on the roughly 650 iʻe kuku held at the Bishop Museum. Today, contemporary carvers remix old themes and create new ones. Watermark patterns can have personal significance to a kapa maker who may use them with a specific intention in mind. Iʻe kuku with multiple patterns, like the one that inspired this design, are rare and represent a high point in the evolution of this incredible art form. For this design we chose to layer the traditional patterns known as pūʻili hāluʻa, hāluʻa pūpū, and iwi puhi.

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