On Kapa the World
by Anuhea Yagi
June 09, 2011 | 12:15 PM
Two years ago, the following press release was written to announce an event commemorating the annual holiday for King Kamehameha I. The event was held at the Bailey House Museum on Maui…
“Hawaiian historian Samuel Kamakau wrote in 1870, that “all are dead who knew how to make the coverings… that made the wearers look dignified and proud and distinguished.” But the art of Hawaiian kapa-making (i.e. a painstakingly rendered traditional fabric made from the bast fibers of, often, paper mulberry called wauke) was revived some 100 years later—and in 1987, cultural practitioners Wesley Sen, Hokulani Holt and Pua Van Dorpe held kapa-making workshops at the Bailey House Museum.
Returning to the roots of this revitalization—and in honor of Kamehameha Day—Holt and Sen, with the Maui Historical Society and Bailey House Museum, present Hina & Maui: The Story of Hawaiian Tapa Making (Ka Mo’olelo no ke Kapa o Hawai’i Nei) this Friday. Holt has written original hula and chant that tells the legend of Hina and Maui, while Sen has fashioned one-of-a-kind costumes made of traditional kapa for the performers. In addition to the performance, antique kapa from the museum’s collection will be exhibited, plus a presentation on kapa-making by Sen.”