Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiian culture stories published by Maui No Ka Oi Magazine.

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.
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 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.
Hawaiian hale

Social Structure: Hawaiian Hale

Indigenous architecture was shaped by—and helped to shape—life in early Hawai‘i. Descendants of the Islands’ first people are building on that foundation.
Pele by Linda Rowell Stevens

In Praise of Wāhine

From the very beginning, Hawaiian culture has celebrated women’s power, passion and intellect. We dig into Hawaiian wāhine culture to learn more.
kamaʻaina

The Meaning of Kamaʻaina

The Hawaiian work kamaʻaina isn’t so much about bloodlines and birthplace, as about a fully intentional way to live.
Hawaiian tatoo

Marked

More than skin deep, traditional tattoos link modern Hawaiians to their ancestors.

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.

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.
Kings Highway - Daniel Sullivan Photography

On the King’s Trail (VIDEOS)

A writer and a photographer explore the remains of the King's Trail on Maui, where dozens of archaeological sites spring up from the side of the trail.
Hawaiian names

Defining Identity

When your name includes twelve syllables and nearly as many letters as the alphabet, you often have some explaining to do.

Hawaii Ponoʻi

Get the translation of Hawai'i Pono'i.
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.
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.
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 moon calendar

Planting by the Moon

Finding the science behind an ancient, indigenous practice.
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 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.
noni plant

Seeds across the Seas

A race of Polynesian seafarers managed to carry with them food for the rest of their lives in Hawai‘i.
native Hawaiians

What Does a Hawaiian Look Like?

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

Hawaiian Turmeric

Turmeric is prized around the world for its yellow color, bold flavor, and medicinal properties. When Polynesian voyagers first sailed to Hawai‘i, they brought the pungent herb with them.

Written in Stone

A historic site yields clues to Maui’s ancient culture
hala weaver in Hawaii

The Weave of History

In the plaited leaves of the pandanus tree, a lauhala master passes along an ancient tradition.
Hawaiian cultural leaders in Maui

The Thousand-year-old Gift

Hawaiian culture evolved over millennia, then almost disappeared after Western contact. Maui's cultural advisors are committed to bringing it back.
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.
checking opihi populations

Clinging to Survival

In rural East Maui, two communities are taking a stand to conserve a weird wild food — and with it, a part of their culture.
Polynesian explorers

Wayfinders

Polynesians navigate Earth's largest ocean by celestial bodies and seabirds, winds and ocean swells.