The Skillful Hands


Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Hello friends of this newspaper column. Good news. Directories of cultural practitioners and artists will be republished. In the 1990s, three directories were printed: Kū Mai Ka Poʻe Hula (1993), Ola Nā Iwi (1995), and Nā Lima Mikioi (1997). At this time, all three will be published on Papakilo Database. People will be able to search on the website for those who are perpetuating the Hawaiian culture.

Nā Lima Mikioi (1997). The names of those who are skilled in working with various fibers like lauhala, wauke, and ʻieʻie were collected for this directory. Although many fiber artists in the directory have passed, the number of lauhala weavers, for example, have grown thanks to the efforts of Elizabeth Maluʻihi Lee, a Mamo Makamae o ka Poʻe Hawaiʻi (Precious Living Treasure of the Hawaiian People), the one who began Ka Ulu Hala ʻo Kona (a lauhala weaving conference).

Ipolani Vaughan is one of the new entries in Nā Lima Mikioi II on Papakilo. Upon tracing her genealogy, she discovered that she had a kupuna (elder) from Kipahulu, Maui on her father’s side. Kawahineaeʻa Kauaua was her name; therefore, Ipolani inherits that welo ( hereditary trait). However, Ipolani was first exposed to lauhala weaving by a Kauaʻi kupuna on her fatherʻs side of the family by the name of Esther Pā Makuaʻole. Her formal master teacher, however, was Gladys Kukana Grace of Kona. She learned weaving through the Hawaiian language.

Ipolani continues the teaching of lauhala weaving by teaching students at Papakōlea and in her home. Lessons are free of charge as her knowledge was freely given to her. Kāʻeo Izon and Poliala Ewaliko were some of her apprentices and a new apprentice was recently announced. Her name is Keaokeaawailani Reyes-Lenchanko and she will be trained through the Hawaiian language just as Ipolani was with Gladys Grace.

Ipolani is especially happy that the knowledge and skill of lauhala weaving will be continued by her granddaughter, Nohea Vaughan-Darval. Ipolani proudly stated, “I am very happy because this weaving tradition will continue in the family.” In addition, Ipolani has other granddaughters who are learning to weave with Tūtū. Weaving will surely continue in the family until Ipolani reaches a ripe old age.

If you are a lauahala weaver, kapa maker, ʻieʻie artisan, cord maker, net maker, carrying-net maker, or other craftsman of various fibers a would like your story in Nā Lima Mikioi II email me at and I will send you an application. If you are interseted in Hawaiʻi’s largest fiber artist gathering, see Kauluhiwaolele 2023 at to be held at the Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel in September.