Sunday, March 29, 2009


Imagine the days when all of the cloth that was worn as garments, slept under as bedding, used for ceremonial occasions, wrapped around the `iwi (bones) of the ancestors, every imaginable use we now have for loomed fabric...all of this cloth came from the inner bark of trees, the most cultivated and useful of which is wauke, the paper mulberry tree. Wauke is also known as Broussonetia papyrifera, and is a member of the fig (Moraceae) family. It is the principle plant used in the making of kapa, or tapa cloth. Kapa means the beaten thing. One of the principle plants introduced by early voyaging Polynesians who settled here in Hawai`i, wauke is thought to have been carried in the canoes as root shoots, but can also be grown from cuttings and occasionally by seed.

We are starting to cultivate Wauke to make kapa and Aunty Lucy opened her backyard to the halau so we can learn more about our Hawaiian Culture.

It begins with preparing the shallow soiled ground for the Wauke to be planted about 1.5' apart.

These Wauke seedlings came from Amy Greenwell's Botanical Garden in Kona.  Amy Greenwell specializes in NATIVE HAWAIIAN PLANTS.

"Look...I got my hands dirty" says Aunty Debbie.

After all the planting was done, Uncle Keoni waters the Wauke.

And here it is....Step One is completed!

1 comment:

uikaneao63 said...

Am interested in Native Hawaiian textiles and was wondering how your plantings of wauke did? Were you able to harvest and process anything? Got any pics, tips, suggestions?