kapa kulture

This blog is dedicated to Hawaiian kapa and matters related to Hawai'i nei…kuku kapa e!

Hawaiian Word of the Day: mo’omo’o

mo’omo’o: 1. Same as mo’o (a small fragment, as of tapa, not attached to a large piece). Strips of wauke bast beaten together from which tapa sheets are to be made. ho’o.mo’omo’o. to beat raw bast into mo’omo’o. 2. Ridges, as of mountains, 3. Young of animals. (Pukui & Elbert, 1971).

A bundle of mo’omo’o is termed a poho.


“Before the dry mo’omo’o strips could be beaten into cloth they had to be soaked in water until they were soft They were then beaten lightly to break up the fibers. The number of strips necessary to complete a cloth was rolled into bundles termed poho by Kamakau, who then states that five poho would make five tapas and 10 poho would make 10 tapas. He also says that five strips would make a woman’s skirt (pa’u), so the number of strips in a bundle depended on the size of tapa desired. When enough bundles were prepared, some banana leaves were spread out in a shady part of the yard and bundles placed upon them. Then they were covered with more banana leaves, and stones were placed over them to weight down the corner. Kamakau says that the stone-covered heap resembled the mound of an earth oven. They were left for a week or a week and a half to maturate, until the bast was smooth and ready to undergo the second beating process” (Buck, p.181, 1987) (Hiroa, Te Rangi -Buck, P.H.- (1957, 1964, 1987). Arts and Crafts of Hawai’i, No. 5, Clothing. Bishop Museum Press: Honolulu).

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