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Pili Ka Mo’o – Kapa

Ka ua Pōpōkapa o Nuʻuanu. The tapa-bundling rain of Nuʻuanu.

The Pōpōkapa rain is so-called because anyone who came up Nuʻuanu Pali from the windward side had to bundle his garments and hold his arms against his chest to keep from getting wet. (Pukuʻi). The kapa or Hawaiian barkcloth is a fibrous cloth our kūpuna wore to adorn and protect themselves from the natural elements. This art form at one time was essential to our Hawaiian people. It was a sacred activity that required great attention from the beginning to the end of the process. With the introduction of Western influence, fabricated materials were more easily acquired. Today the art of kuku kapa is still being practiced. Practitioners have introduced modern uses of kapa but it is still being utilized in traditional burial rites with our iwi kupuna and as traditional hula attire.

Cultural Practitioners

Analū Kameʻeiāmoku Josephides Cruze

Analu Kameeiamoku Josephides Cruze, was  born and raised in Waianae, Oahu to a Kanaka Maoli-Portuguese mother and a Greek-Cypriot father. Analu holds a B.A. in Hawaiian Studies with a focus in traditional Society, a MLISc in Library and Information Science with a concentration on Indigenous & Native Hawaiian Librarianship and preservation and conservation of archival records; and is currently a Ph.D. student at SUNY University at Buffalo, Graduate School of Education – Information Science Program. His academic research focus is on developing an indigenous information literacy framework and how ancestral knowledge can lend to student learning in a two-year institution. He is a renown and lauded Kanaka Maoli Genealogist with over 30 years of experience having been trained, mentored, and groomed by his Mahoe and Kaawa kupuna. His professional genealogical work includes, but isn’t limited to repatriation of funerary objects, protection of iwikupuna, traditional burial practices, documenting of Kanaka Maoli genealogy for scholarships and blood quantum, working with the United Nations on Indigenous Peoples issues, and working with PBS New York on their award-winning television program Finding Your Roots. He currently resides in West Hollywood, California where he is pursuing his film and stage career with four films under his belt, 3 stage plays with the Santa Monica Playhouse, and an author of both non-fiction and scholarly work.

Dalani Tanahy

 Dalani Tanahy is a native of San Diego California with roots in Maui and O’ahu.  Her maternal grandparents are Edward Bailey and Emily Kane of Wailuku, Maui.  Her paternal grandparents are Emily and Arthur Enos of La’ie, O’ahu.  She grew up spending her summers in La`ie and knew she would return to live in Hawai’i one day.  As a child, she enjoyed the slow tedious work involved in crocheting, knitting, embroidering and quilting.  Dalani made her first i`e kuku and hohoa beaters over sixteen years ago through the help of Kawai Aona-Ueoka.  Her first experience teaching kapa started at the Cultural Learning Center at Ka’ala in Wai’anae.  She found the perfect marriage of art and education through creating and sharing the art of kapa and was inspired to start Kapa Hawaii.  Kapa Hawaii teaches people about the types of Polynesian bark cloth collectively known as ‘tapa’ with a special emphasis on the tapa or ‘kapa’ made in the Hawaiian Islands.

Kawaikaulā’au Aona-Ueoka

Kawai Aona-Ueoka was born and raised in Nānākuli. It was through her love of hula that she began her journey to find kapa. Kawai uses both wauke and mamaki, and cultivates as well as gathers her own materials. She has done extensive research, interviewed kupuna, and through pule, and trial and error, has created a kapa of high quality for utilitarian and artistic purposes. In 1992, Kawai founded KAPA, “Kapa Aloha Perpetuation Association, Inc.”, a native Hawaiian non-profit organization for the advancement of native Hawaiian traditional and contemporary fine arts. It is her dream that hālau be established on each Hawaiian island where various cultural disciplines can be taught, learned and developed and improved upon. “We need to be in control of our arts and culture, and promote both excellence and quality in all that we do.” Kawai has taught Hawaiian Kapa Workshops throughout the state of Hawaii, other states, as well as in Germany, and Aotearoa.  Her work has been exhibited in various venues around the world.  She has worked with Hui Mālama I Nā Kupuna O Hawaiʻi Nei teaching lineal descendants Hawaiian Kapa making and producing Hawaiian Kapa for the Repatriation of Hawaiian Ancestral Remains. She trained in kapa preservation at the Smithsonian Institutions; produced a video about kapa-making and is the author of Kapa Aloha: The Fine Art of Hawaiian Barkcloth Making Puke Hana.

November 11, 2023

uku kapa, to pound bark cloth. ʻOhana proudly displayed their pōhaku gathered from various beaches and dry streams in their communities. These pōhaku are to be used in the first pounding of the kapa. Kumu Dalani shared the next step in pounding the kapa they worked on in the previous session. ʻOhana got right to work. They learned to use both the hohoa and the ʻIe kuku. Today was also the start of creating their own tools. Kumu gave instructions on how to start making the hohoa and ʻie kuku. Participants were productive and created beautiful pieces of kapa.

October 14, 2023

We begin our journey learning kuku kapa with Kumu Dalani with the sounds of i’e kuku echoing throughout our ‘ili ‘āina. She shares the many different types of kapa or tapa throughout the South Pacific.

November 16, 2023
October 19, 2023
Ava Konohiki
Digital Archives of Hawaii
Hawaii State Archives
Hawaiian Ethnobotany Online Database
The Hawaiian Mission Houses Digital Collection
Bishop Museum Archives & Library
Family Search
Hawaii State Judiciary
Hawaiian Sugar Plantation Archives
Department of Accounting & General Services
Hawaii State Archives Genealogy Research Guide
Hawaiian Electronic Library
Papakilo Database

Kapa & Genealogy

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7