There’s a small but skilled group of local artisans who practice crafts that were important to ancient Hawaiians. How can they make a living when foreign imitations of their work sell for much less?
This is hella important. please read!
UMI KAI WAS 17 YEARS OLD WHEN HE carved his first Hawaiian weapon. He used some wood from a mango tree in his backyard and, with no more experience than woodshop class at Kaimuki High School, fashioned it into a leiomano, a slender wood paddle about the size his hand, lashed with tiger shark teeth he got from a fisherman. Kai shaped the weapon from memory, after a similar piece he’d seen as a child at his uncle’s house.
That was 30 years ago. Since then, Kai has studied the Bishop Museum’s collection of Hawaiian weapons, read whatever he could on ancient implements, consulted others who were knowledgeable about woodworking and became one of the most esteemed weapons makers in the Islands.