This is Waipao (part 1)

24 09 2011

Hāʻikū Stream at Waipao

I went to Waipao today. So fulfilling. Waipao is an ‘ili (small land section) of  the ahupua‘a (land division extending from the uplands to the sea) of He‘eia on the island of O‘ahu. A Hawaiian cultural educational organization named Papahana Kuaola offered a workshop in how to make cordage from the bark of a hau tree (Hibiscus tiliaceus L.). An old friend, Ken Keola Ching, was the kumu (teacher). DH, my friend Piʻi and I had not seen Ken since our days together in Hale Kū‘ai Cooperative, so that was another reason to go.

The band of green across the middle of the photo is the hau thicket from where we gathered the raw material. Beyond are the Koʻolau Mountains.

Our kumu Ken Ching demonstrates the right way and the less desirable way to pa‘e (strip) hau bark.

In my next post I’ll show more photos of the ‘āina (land) where Papahana Kuaola is working on environmental restoration and sustainability while integrating traditional Hawaiian knowledge.

You’ll see the fun we had learning how to make hau kaula. It was a lot of work and gave us a greater appreciation of the culture and the days of old.

It was a first for me—turning hau plant fiber into cordage. Reflecting on the day’s activity, I can say, I made it myself!

Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke
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