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Hawaiian News: niihau shell lei

Pamela Kailikini Dow Pamela Kailikini Dow
Kanani Benjamina Kanani Benjamina
Niihau shell lei Niihau shell lei

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Niʻihau shell lei are heirlooms in Hawaiʻi valued up to thousands of dollars. Amy Kalili shows us one woman's efforts to ensure this value is respected and appreciated.

Noiʻi a hôʻoia ana ʻo Pam i ke ʻano a me ka waiwai o nâ lei pûpû Niʻihau no ʻeono makahiki, ʻo eia ka manaʻo maʻamau o ka poʻe ke ʻike lâkou no ka waiwai o nâ lei.

Pam has been authenticating Niʻihau shell lei for about six years, and typically gets a reaction like this.

ʻOh, we did not know what we had," which is why we sometimes call these events our motherʻs hidden treasures.

Pamela Kaʻilikini Dow

Co-Owner, Forever Kauaʻi

"ʻAʻole i maopopo!" A ma muli o kçlâ, kapa ʻia he waiwai nalohia paha.

Inâ nô he lei pûpû no Niʻihau, kôkua ana ʻo Pam i ka hôʻoia ʻia o kçlâ.

Pam helps owners determine whether the shell lei are actually from Niʻihau.

We can provide a document stating the name of the shells, the style of stringing and if so desired we will provide a retail value.

(pam)

Palapala ʻia ke ʻano o ka pûpû, ke ʻano o ke kui ʻia a me kona waiwai.

Ua nui ka ʻike i paʻa iâ Pat mai nâ loea kui lei pûpû Niʻihau ʻo Kanani Beniamina lâua me ʻIwalani Kanahele.

Pam learned from lei stringers Kanani Beniamina and ʻIwalani Kanahele.

Ua aʻo mai koʻu kupunawahine i ka makahiki ʻehiku wale nô oʻu makahiki.

Pono e hoʻomaʻemaʻe i ke one, ʻo ia ka mua, a laila hana i ka puka.

Paʻakikî ma ka hana ʻana i ka puka

Kanani Beniamina

Mea Kui Lei Pûpû o Niʻihau

My grandmother taught me to clean the shells and pierce them. It's very tedious.

If you understand and know how difficult it would be to accumulate enough shells to do one strand in a lei this is what factors into the pricing.

(pam)

ʻO ka nui loa o nâ pûpû e pono ai he hoʻokahi lei, he pili nô i ke kumukûʻai.

Aia ke kumukûʻai i ke ʻano, ka waihoʻoluʻu, a me ka maʻemaʻe o nâ pûpû.

Value depends on the type of shell, color, and how clean the shells are.

If you have a lei that's got some of the most unique and rare colors in it you know it could quite possibly and easily go up to $20,000.

No nâ waihoʻoluʻu kâkaʻikahi, ua hiki ke piʻi ke kumukûʻai o ka lei i ka $20,000.

ʻO kekahi mea e noʻonoʻo ai, ʻo ia ke ʻano o kçia hana, he ʻike kuʻuna. ʻAʻohe maʻalahi o ka hoʻopili ʻana he kumukûʻai me kçlâ.

When you think about though, it's trying to price a tradition, not an easy task.

He mea kçia mai ko mâkou poʻe kûpuna mai, a he mea waiwai kçia no mâkou.

(kanani)

This tradition was passed down to us, and it's priceless.

ʻO wau no kçia ʻo Amy Kalili no Sunrise ma Hawaiʻi News Now. Aloha.

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