Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiian culture stories published by Maui No Ka Oi Magazine.

Haleakala Crater

Into the House of the Sun

A millennium before Haleakala became a national park, Hawaiians traversed its moonscape crater. On the park’s centennial, we reprise that journey.
Kino Lau

Kino Lau

Hawaiian lore finds the spirit of the divine in the ordinary world.
Hawaiian weapons

The Weapon Maker’s Art

Wood and cordage, tooth and bone are used to recreate the ancient Hawaiian instruments of war. A modern weapons maker finds connection to a culture.
Hawaiian names

Defining Identity

In Hawaiian, we do not ask, What is your name? We ask, Who is your name? We truly believe it breathes and it has a life.
Hawaiian games

Games Hawaiians Play

Children of Hawaii play traditional island games in the spirit of Makahiki. Ancient cultural competitions in connection with the festival and its meaning.
Ian Cole, Breadfruit Institute

Breadfruit

As it turns out, one breadfruit can feed a family, and one variety a people. Packed in coconut-husk fiber and dry leaves, ‘ulu accompanied the Polynesian voyagers in their canoes bound for Hawai‘i.
feather lei

The Feather Lei

An ancient art, as delicate as it is beautiful, has outlived the kings who once claimed it as their own.
hawaiian fisherman nets

The Fisherman’s Net

From ancient times, Hawaiians have used this handwoven tool to gather an ocean harvest. For one Maui fisherman, it still holds a way of life and a sense of identity.
Hawaiian Kapa

Beauty in the Bark

Among Polynesians, the Hawaiians of old excelled in the making of kapa. Their distant daughters have begun to reclaim this once-lost ancient art.
video

The Heartbeat of Hula

In contrast to modern hula (which is typically accompanied by Western-derived stringed instruments, such as the slack-key guitar or ‘ukulele), ancient hula is purely percussive.
poi pounding

VIDEO: Papa Kuʻiʻai (Poi Board) Making

Watch as we transform a piece of monkey pod into a papa kuʻiʻai (poi board) during this workshop on Maui, hosted by the Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United.
Hawaiian Goddess Pele

Fire Goddess

How could we dedicate an issue to all things hot about Hawai‘i and not include Pele? The volcano goddess is as renowned for her fiery passions as for the molten lava with which she creates new land.

Pohaku

You and I are older than the stones along the Puna shoreline. These stones started just a few years ago as gobs of lava from Pele’s current eruption, gobs that dripped into the sea only to be tumbled and polished then lobbed back onto the shore.
pueo

Hawaii’s Spirit Guardians

Animal, plant, elemental force, even the substance of dreams-in their different forms, ancestral guides helped to shape the Islands' first culture.
Hawaiian clothing

Wrapped in Tradition

This story straddles centuries to look at authentic Hawaiian clothing prior to Western contact, and how three young Hawaiian entrepreneurs are incorporating ancient meanings, patterns, and knowledge into their contemporary apparel.
hawaiian moon calendar

Planting by the Moon

Finding the science behind an ancient, indigenous practice.

Home, Thatched Home

Virtually extinct for over a century, hale—traditional Hawaiian houses—are making a comeback with the new millennium.

Instructions: How to Make a Lei

Celebrate May Day in Hawaii with a fresh flower lei. Here are step by step instructions on how to sew your lei.
Hawaiian dyes

Shades of the Past

More than any other Polynesian people, Hawaiians excelled in the use of color, coaxing incredible hues from the natural world around them.
native Hawaiians

What Does a Hawaiian Look Like?

Through their portraits, handprints and signatures, Jordan Murph is helping native Hawaiians create an indelible legacy.
limu

The Lure of Limu

The study of seaweed has enabled Hawaiian women—past and present—to sharpen their scientific eye, flavor bland meals, and exercise the art of metaphor.
Hawaiian Kapuna

Who Are Na Kupuna?

Like the rest of us, Hawaiian mature, age and die. And there the similarity ends.
Hawaiian immersion schools

Olelo Hawaii

A revolution is happening in Island schools, as Hawaiian-immersion students find the keys to unlock their culture.

Kapa: Fabric of a Culture

Pua Van Dorpe has spent a lifetime pursuing her passion—reclaiming this ancient and lost Hawaiian art
hanai

All in the Family

There’s a saying in English that you can’t choose your family. But with an ancient and enduring Hawaiian tradition called hānai, sometimes you can.
Awapuhi Shampoo Ginger

Grounded in Culture

The culture of ancient Hawaiʻi was deeply rooted in nature. It still is—thanks to places like Maui Nui Botanical Gardens.
Hawaiian moon calendar phases

Hawaiian Moon Calendar

In its wax and wane, Hawaiians of old found the secrets to sustainable living.

Events & News