Expressing aloha through lei

| May 5, 2011 | 0 Comments
Community members make lei with plumeria and orchids using the kui method. Plant materials are strung together through the center of the flower with a needle and thread.

Community members make lei with plumeria and orchids using the kui method. Plant materials are strung together through the center of the flower with a needle and thread.

Story and Photos by
Vickey Mouzé
Pau Hana Edito
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Soldiers, families learn Hawaiian art of lei making

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The scent of plumeria wafted throughout Sgt. Yano Library, as 65 community members met to learn the Hawaiian art of making lei, here, April 28.

Sponsored by the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, workshop attendees learned three different lei making techniques: wili, hilo and kui.

Rona Rodenhurst taught the wili method, where raffia (twine) is wound around successive, short lengths of ferns and flowers on a thick raffia braid. Materials used were leatherleaf, bougainvillea and baby’s-breath.

Warrant Officer Brianne Love and her daughter, Tanessa, 7, learn how to make lei using the wili method. Love is assigned to the 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde, 8th TSC.

Warrant Officer Brianne Love and her daughter, Tanessa, 7, learn how to make lei using the wili method. Love is assigned to the 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde, 8th TSC.

Rodenhurst is with the Ahahui Siwila Hawaii O Kapolei, or Kapolei Civic Club, as is Lance Holder who assisted.

Farah Cabrera, from the Native Hawaiian Liaison office, USAG-HI, demonstrated the steps.

Melissa Lyman, also from the Native Hawaiian Liaison Office, taught the hilo method, where two strands of plant material are twisted to form a rope to create a lei.

Kala Holden demonstrated the kui method, where plumeria and orchid are strung together through the center of the flowers to create the lei. Holden is also with the Ahahui Siwila Hawaii O Kapolei.

Keiki also had the chance to learn to make kid-friendly lei. Annelle Amaral, Native Hawaiian liaison to the commander, USAG-HI, led keiki through the steps using construction paper and pipe cleaners to make kui lei.

“It is one thing to hear a lecture on the Hawaiian culture, still another to watch cultural practitioners,” Amaral said.

“However, I think the best way to learn and understand cultural practices is to simply ‘do it,’” Amaral continued. “Our workshops provide an opportunity for our families to practice the culture, experience the culture and then internalize it. It is the way learning takes place.”

The lei making workshops are “the most popular and well attended,” according to Bonnie Dong, supervisory librarian, Sgt. Yano Library, USAG-HI. Earlier in the week, Army libraries at Fort Shafter and Aliamanu Military Reservation had also hosted workshops.

Warrant Officer Brianne Love attended the workshop with her daughter, Tanessa, 7, “to learn some of the (Hawaiian) culture.” Love, who grew up in Waianae, is a property book officer with 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

The workshop was held in time for Lei Day, May 1.

The lei, an international symbol of aloha, has been honored with its own official celebration since 1927, according to www.honolulu.gov. This year’s Lei Day Celebration was held at Queen Kapiolani Regional Park and Bandstand, and events included a lei exhibit, adult and children’s lei contests, and the investiture of the Lei Queen and her court.

See more workshop photos at Flickr.

Hawaiian culture

  • Email nhliaison@gmail.com to get the latest info about USAG-HI-sponsored Hawaiian cultural events and workshops, such as the free hula workshops held each Monday, 5-7 p.m., Army Community Service, Schofield Barracks.
  • Visit www.honolulu.gov to learn more about Lei Day and other cultural observances and events.

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Category: Community

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