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Hīnaʻi Poʻohiwi Iti

Hawaiian fishing methods are incredibly diverse. The use of baskets to trap fish was a popular method and often done by women. Baskets of various shapes and sizes were used to catch all kinds of fish including kala, hīnālea, palani, uhu, halahala, kūmū, ʻōpae, ʻoʻopu, and more. The aerial roots of the ʻieʻie (Freycinetia arborea) were the main material for various classes of baskets including hīnaʻi, pai (also ʻapai and ʻāpua), ʻie (ʻie palani, ʻie kala, etc.), ʻapi, and others. Small, single use baskets (hīnaʻi hoʻoluʻuluʻu, naomakalua, etc.) were woven from ʻāwikiwiki (Canavalia spp.), huehue (Cocculus ferrandianus), and other vining species. Some hīnaʻi had a rock woven onto the bottom side to weight them down to the ocean floor, others were secured by piling rocks around them. They were designed so that fish could swim in, but not back out. Various types of bait (pumpkin, ʻuala, kalo, crushed niu, wana, hāʻukeʻuke, limu, etc.) were often placed in the baskets to attract the fish. The hīnaʻi kala (also ʻie kala) was the largest of the baskets. Woven under kapu by men over 2-3 days, they were then filled with limu kala and lowered from a canoe. They were switched out with the ʻapi - open feeding baskets used beforehand to tame and fatten the fish. One haul in a hīnaʻi kala could hold up to 60 fish! Nothing short of ingenious. Ka ʻie lawe e lawa ai ka makemake - The basket that satisfies one's desires (provides what one needs).

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