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December 10, 2020 Shanette Kanuha

Na Maka Kahiko was established in 2015 by founder and owner Nalu Andrade. Nalu was intrigued by this ancient Hawaiian practice of wood carving at age 6. In 1978, Nalu saw the Hōkūle’a sail and was inspired to learn more. He would borrow books from the library about Hawaiian wood carving and navigation. During high school, Nalu was fortunate to help with the lashing on the Hōkūle’a. A journey of kuleana or responsibility began to unfold as he learned more about wood carving. Today, Nalu is a leader in his craft and shares his gift with the world. Na Maka Kahiko woodwork was created to bridge the past with the present. Nalu’s creations of hand carved wearable art are inspired by his kupuna (grandparent or ancestor). Nalu enjoys learning as well as teaching. He offers online and in-person workshops on ’Ohe Kapala and ‘Ohe Kapala inspired earrings.

Photograph Provided By Shanette Kanuha Of Nalu Andrade
Photograph Provided By Shanette Kanuha


‘Ohe kapala is an ancient Hawaiian practice of carving bamboo stamps that were used to adorn kapa fabrics. Harvesting ‘ohe or bamboo was a process that involved mindfulness and respect. It was not just picking a tree and chopping it down. Asking permission in prayer was practiced and giving thanks was always protocol. A rule taught to many Hawaiians was to take only what is needed. In this practice, nature is always providing and replenishing in harmony. Many of the Hawaiian carvings tell a mo’olelo or story. Hawaiians did everything with meaning and intent. Like uhi or ancient art of Hawaiian tattoo, the inspiration comes from nature or events. The land, people, and culture are all part of a woven story that teaches the next generation Hawaiian wisdom. Ancient Hawaiians had to be creative in ways to document the past. Kapa design and uhi are some ways they passed down knowledge before the pen and paper was introduced.

Photograph Provided By Shanette Kanuha


‘Ohe kapala is traditionally used to design kapa with stamped ink patterns. Many Hula practitioners use the ancient teachings to design pa’u hula skirts during the Merry Monarch season. The ‘ohe kapala inspired earrings pay homage to the Hawaiian ancient art while providing a modern twist of function and fashion.


If you are interested in learning more about Ancient Hawaiian Carving or ‘Ohe Kapala Carving please visit Na Maka Kahiko at https://namakakahiko.wixsite.com/kalai. Nalu Andrade, Hawaiian Wood Carving Practitioner, will be visiting Maui on Saturday, December 12 @12n for a Beginning Wood Carving Workshop at Maui Nui Botanical Garden. Cost is $50 for current members, $75 for new members, and includes all tools and supplies. Call 249-2798 or email info@mnbg.org for reservations.

Photograph Provided By Shanette Kanuha

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