Authentic artifacts created by Hawaiian cultural practitioners now on display in the lobby of
The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas
Ka‘anapali, Hawai‘i – Today local artisans unveiled handmade works of art displayed at The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas. A blessing of the art installations was conducted by Kumu Kaponoai Molitau with artists Kekai Kapu, Gigi Gomes and Pohaku Kahoohanohano present, along with resort guests and members of the community. Following the blessing, kindergarten through fifth grade students from Princess Nahienaena School performed Hawaiian songs and enjoyed Makahiki games. The art pieces, along with a corresponding olelo no eau, or Hawaiian proverb, are showcased within four pillars in the resort’s lobby and will be permanently on display for guests and the public to view and learn about the history and values of Hawaiian culture.
Each piece was skillfully created using natural materials and traditional methods that were passed down from generation to generation within each of the practitioner’s families. The first pillar exhibits three kahili, or feather staffs. They were made by Kumu Kapono‘ai Molitau from koa wood and feathers. The second pillar is a collaboration between cultural consultant/practitioner Kekai Kapu and fisherman Gigi Gomes. This pillar showcases fishing implements, including a hinai(fishing basket), upena (fishing net), luhee (octopus lure), makau (fishing hooks), and auamo(carrying stick for transporting gourds of food and water). The third pillar is a pea lauhala (pandanus leaf sail) that was hand-woven by Pohaku Kahoohanohano. The fourth pillar displays a 300 lb. kulani hakoi (stone bowl), with a mo o (lizard) sculpture and lauae (fern) engravings that took two years for Anthony “Hoaka” Delos Reyes to shape and carved by hand.
“It requires great skill and a lot of time to create these handmade pieces,” said Makalapua Kanuha, the resort’s complex director of culture. “Nowadays there are very few people who practice these traditions to the level of these artisans, so we’re very fortunate to have their work here on display.”
Commissioned by Kanuha, these authentic artifacts highlight four important elements in Hawaiian culture: akua/alii (god/royalty), lawaia (fisherman), waa (canoe), and wai (fresh water). The pillars symbolize the reverence of God and royalty, honoring the fishing village that was here before us, voyaging and navigation, and the value of water as the source of life in Hawaiian culture.
“Everything here was done with purpose and meaning — from the concept of the lobby, to the design of the landscaping and the names of the buildings,” added Kanuha. “These four elements add to the deeper meaning, allowing us to share our culture with people who come to visit The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas. Together it all tells a story.”
To learn more, guests and the community are welcome to view the artwork or visit the resort’s Pu‘uhonua o Nanea Cultural Center, which is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. For more information, visit westinnanea.com or call 808-662-6300.
About the Pu‘uhonua o Nanea Cultural Center
Located just off of the lobby of The Westin Nanea Ocean Resort Villas, the Pu‘uhonua o Nanea Cultural Center offers a variety of cultural experiences, including ukulele lessons, fresh flower lei making, hula lessons, Hawaiian language classes, and more. Created by Complex Director of Culture, Makalapua Kanuha, she and her team of cultural specialists encourage guests to take a class, browse through the extensive book collection or simply stop by to “talk story.” Visit westinnanea.com/culturalcenter.