(HawaiiNewsNow) - Authentic native Hawaiian crafts are in high demand nowadays, many selling for thousands of dollars. But, while most artists measure success in dollars, these artists measure success in their ability to reconnect with their culture. Amy Kalili has more.
What we now consider Hawaiian art were really everyday tools vital to survival.
Aloha kakahiaka kâkou. ʻO ia mau hana noʻeau o ka wâ ma mua e manaʻo ʻia nei he paheona i kçia mau lâ, he mau pono hana maoli nô ka nui.
"Traditionally, kapa was our entire fabric for everything. Anything that we do with fabric now, they did it back then. So it was the clothing. It was the blankets. It was bandages," said Dalani Tanahy, Kapa Maker.
ʻO ke kapa ka iâ lole kuʻuna hoʻi. Hoʻohana ʻia no ka lole, ke kapa, ka wahîʻeha a pçia aku.
"So it wasn't so much a specialty thing. It was you had to or your family was naked, and cold, and you had no taxes at makahiki and maybe they kill you, I don't know," said Tanahy.
Aʻole he kûikawâ ke ʻano. He pono e pale ai ke kino o ka ʻohana a he uku ʻauhau paha i pono nô ke ola.
Craftsman Umi Kai also sells his weapons and implements in art galleries.
ʻO Umi Kai kekahi ma ke kûʻai aku i kâna mau pono kaua a pono hana Hawaiʻi ma nâ hale kûʻai pâheona.
"I try to stay as close as I can to traditional design and always with function," says Umi Kai, Hawaiian Implements & Weapons Maker.
Mea nui kona ʻano pono hana maoli.
Umi has spent the past 30 years taking up Hawaiian tool and weapon making.
Ke hele nei he 30 a ʻoi makahiki kçia ʻo ko Umi kâlai a kâpili ʻana i kçia mau pono hana.
"Learning how our kupuna did it in ancient times is very important because you get a sense of value and you get a sense of styling," said Kai.
Aia a ʻike i ke ʻano o ko kûpuna hana ʻana ma laila ka nani a waiwai maoli.
Modern methods and tools could speed up the process, but these artists find great value in doing things traditionally.
Nui nâ kaʻakâlai a pono hana o kçia au e ʻeleu a maʻalahi ai nô paha ka hoʻohua i kçia mau hana kuʻuna Hawaiʻi, akâ no kçia mau lima noʻeau, he waiwai ko kçia hoʻopili ʻana i ka hana a kûpuna
"Probably the biggest payoff is just that I can reconnect not only with a cultural art but just with myself as an artist, finding something that I really felt bonded to," said Tanahy.
He waiwai kô ka hoʻopili ʻana i kçia hana kuʻuna, a ma koʻu ʻano he mea pâheona, ua lilo i he kâʻei ʻoluʻolu maoli noʻu.
"That knowledge that they had, the patience that they had and their understanding of nature…it's amazing and you really can't get a good grasp of it until you start to understand all of the different implements and the intricate ways in which they were made," said Kai.
Kûpânaha ka nui o ka hoʻomanawanui a ʻike o nâ kûpuna no ke ao kûlohelohe. ʻAʻole e ʻike maoli ʻia a aʻo ʻoe i ka noʻeau e pono ai ka hana ʻana i kçia mea.
For stories like this and more, tune in to our half-hour episodes of ʻÂhaʻi ʻÔlelo Ola on Saturdays at 2:30p.m. on KGMB.