Skip to content

Mahalo Monday: Teaching the Art of Lei

March 2, 2015

While Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park may be nearing its 100th birthday, the lei making tradition has been in practice throughout Polynesia for centuries.


Ranger Noah demonstrates lei haku. (NPS photo/Christa Sadler)

Earlier this week at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Park Ranger and Hawaiian scholar Noah Gomes demonstrated two methods of making lei on the Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai. Using ti leaf, visitors learned the styles of lei hilo and lei haku. Lei hilo involves the twisting and intertwining of two strands of plant material to make a rope. Lei haku is a three-strand braid, with additional plant decorations, like kukui leaf and various flowers, braided in for a thicker, textured look. When first learning, the technique of lei can be difficult to master, but Ranger Noah says it is always important to maintain good thoughts, or mana‘o, while making lei. What really matters are the thoughts and good intentions behind the product.

Visitors learn lei hilo from Ranger Noah. (NPS photo/Christa Sadler)

Visitors learn lei hilo from Ranger Noah. (NPS photo/Christa Sadler)

Ranger Noah's lei haku. (NPS photo/Christa Sadler)

Ranger Noah weaving kukui leaf into his lei haku. (NPS photo/Christa Sadler)

This program is part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshop series, and it’s free, thanks to support from the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association.

The author is a Student Conservation Association/AmeriCorps intern working with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the park’s centennial initiatives.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: