HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Native Hawaiian Arts and Culture Expo was held Saturday at Na Lama Kukui and will continue today from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Hawaii Culture and Retail Association and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
The Expo is Hawaii's only Native Hawaiian exposition bringing together traditional cultural practitioners and local contemporary artists.
"The goal was to have a representative from different arts and practices of our culture," said Kamaka Pili, cultural advisor with Hawaii Culture and Retail Association. "This brings us together for the vendors and other practitioners so we can walaau and talk story and learn from our own people and build more connections and networks."
Ohe kapala, local jams, laau lapaau, Hawaiian clothing, lei and net making are just some of the crafts featured. And though different in its function and design each piece carries with it a similar story: the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture.
"The whole point of bringing traditional practitioners, and more contemporary artists, was to show the fact of where we came from, the traditional knowledge, the importance of knowing that and remembering it and perpetuating it but knowing and leaving an open space for evolution and creation," Pili said.
Performances, cultural workshops and storytelling sessions were also available for visitors to interact with kupuna and learn from their knowledge and experiences.
Pili hopes that this event builds lasting connections in the Hawaiian community and that it creates new experiences for tourists and those wanting to do business in Hawaii.
"People keep saying we're the host culture and for me we really need to step up and be that host," said Pili. "Something like this gives us as Hawaiians the opportunity to present our culture to everybody and give them that experience of 'authenticity' when it comes to Hawaiian culture."