So essential was the ocean to the survival of ka poʻe Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian people) that they divided and named it with beautiful intricacy. Mary Kawena Pukui used the term "nā papakū o ka moana" when talking with kūpuna about how Hawaiians had names for so many different parts or depths of the sea, each one having its own unique function in their lives. Many of the divisions are named for what is done there (surfing, catching crabs, netting uhu, etc.). Some are named for their unique color or character. Others have connections to akua and the Hawaiian view of the physical world. On this garment you will find one or more of the ocean divisions we chose to depict, based on the descriptions of Samuel Kamakau: kuaʻau ("surf-riding sea"), kai kea ("white sea" beyond the surf break), kai hī aku (the dark blue sea where aku are pulled in and mālolo are also caught), and kai pōpolohua mea a Kāne ("the purplish-blue reddish-brown sea of Kāne" - the deep ocean). Wiliau refers to the currents that move through the ocean. These traditional divisions give us a valuable window into the worldview and lifestyle of our kūpuna. They also provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the many ways this vast realm of Kanaloa still sustains us today.
Tank | Organic cotton & lycra | Eco-friendly dye methods | Designed in Hawaiʻi | Made in the USA