The Ancient Hawaiian Art of Bark Cloth


– [Narrator] The beauty of
Kauai just fills my soul. There are places of extreme beauty. And that for me is the Nā Pali Coast where there is a hidden gem. An old village site called Niihau Kauai. It is an absolutely ideal place to perpetuate Hawaiian culture. (reflective music) (Hawaiian music) I teach Hawaiian studies here in Kauai, and the children call me Cuomo Kauka. (Hawaiian music) I teach Hula, which is Hawaiian dance, Ōlelo Hawaii, which is Hawaiian language, and Kapa, which is Hawaiian barkcloth. – Oh my God, it’s so beautiful. – [Narrator] In Hawaii, we
did not have loomed material. We made our clothing and our blankets from the bark of a tree. Kapa is made first by growing the plant and then harvesting it. Scraping off the outer bark. Removing the inner bark and pounding it out. You got to pound, and
pound, and pound and pound and then you need many, many
strips and you fold them together and pound them all out as one. (pounding sound) But you’ve got to have the
materials to teach Hawaiian arts. And those materials are
very much based on plants. (Helicopter sounds) We have to grow the Wauke
in order to make Kapa. That’s why we have been return
to Niihau Kauai for 27 year. There are no roads in there. It is only accessible by boat or by air. (helicopter sound) You feel the sense of place when you land. When you walk along the little trail. And when you look out at the ocean and you see the turtles that
are resting on the beach. They have been on that
beach for centuries. We’ve only been on that
beach more recently. (uplifting music) Our first trip into Niihau Kauai was to return ancestral
remains or K..puna iwi, and, ever since that trip, we have been going back to take
care this old village site. And we have also planted
Wauke there to make Kapa. And I am still trying to
figure out my K..puna, how my ancestors made as
beautifully as they have. It’s a process. We have to relearn these things. – Voila – [Narrator] So it’s a place of old Hawaii that brings much to our understanding of perhaps how life used to be. – Come in right here and you
gotta cut it at the bottom. – [Narrator] I like to
teach my children about Kapa because first of all they have to learn how to take care of the plants and then they have to
learn how to harvest them and how to clean them and how to pound them. (pounding sounds) They know who they are. They know where they live. They know why they live here and what they can do to help. How do Hawaiians see the land, that the land is the chief and
that people are its servants. (reflective music)

69 Replies to “The Ancient Hawaiian Art of Bark Cloth”

  1. I've planted this tree in front of my yard couple of years ago. I knew you can make paper out of it, but didn't know you can make cloth too.

  2. So much small lies! 2:27 That turtle is not resting but dying of exaustion!!! Also Hula is not a mere dance but the dance of worship to the the Hawaiian idols (shark deity etc) with its correspondent prayers(0:57). Besides trying to make worshippers of false deities shes is also trying to promote servitude!("the land is the Chief and the people its servants"). Humanity should protect and defend nature, not be it's servant!
    PS: I appreciate the natural clothing theme but the creeping of lies and oppression must be exposed

  3. I love watching videos where they show us a traditional way of doing things wether it’s the black Japanese kimono dye technique or this Hawaiian bark cloth, it’s always relaxing to see how they do it!

  4. Last time I was this early Ottoman von Bismarck, 19th century prussian noble and politician, was uniting the germanic states under prussian rule in the 1800s

  5. I want to go to Hawaii now and just get a tour of Kauai and learn all about the culture. Hopefully meet this wonderful teacher as well.

  6. Wow, Okinawa also has a ancient tradition of making clothes from banana leaves for the same reasons! It was used to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Not a lot of people know how to make it anymore or wear it but I hope to one day help revive traditional Okinawan culture.

  7. Why can’t the rest of the world live like Hawaiians? The take what they need not more they save the land and forests

  8. There are many other polynesian countries that still practice the making of tapa/kapa/ngatu/siapo/masi
    1. Tonga
    2. Samoa & america samoa
    3. Fiji
    We do it on a big scale tho, sometimes 20 or more yards are made.

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