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“Mo`olelo o ka Pola Hanau”
 (Rebirth of an Ancient Tradition)

    In 1914, a researcher for the American Anthropologist Journal, Martha W. Beckwith, did research on Hawaiian customs and beliefs relating to birth and infancy. The results were published in the American Anthropologist, N.S. Volume 26, 1924.

    In the section titled The Naval Cord, the researcher identified an informant as a native Hawaiian named Konanui, born in Kahue in 1859, who spoke about cups being made as a depository for the navel cord or piko as Hawaiians called it.

    A family genealogy reveals my Kuku Pa (grandfather) David Marshall Konanui, living in the area called Kapa`ahu more popularly known as Kalapana in the Puna District was the informant named in the research.

    Konanui also spoke about an area called Pu`uloa, in the Puna District, which means long hill and was respected as a place that gives long life. So Hawaiian families chose Pu`uloa to deposit the piko of their children.

    Additional research revealed that a son of David Marshall Konanui, Samuel Oulu Konanui, mentioned that Hawaiian families took their children’s piko to Pu`uloa to be blessed with long life. The piko was transported in wood vessels (pola) or calabashes from all over the islands.

    In 1997, a Hawaiian tradition was born, Na Pola Hanau, the making of a birth bowl as a family heirloom. It is my mana`olana that the pola hanau perpetuates the piko tradition as the piko may be temporarily sheltered in the Pola Hanau until it can be respectfully and safely deposited in a final resting place.

    Today, every Pola Hanau that is completed on the child’s birth is blessed, recorded, photographed and laser engraved with a registered trademark to insure that it’s a “one-of-a-kind” `ohana heirloom.

    It is also the hope that the Konanui `ohana carry on the Piko and Pola Hanau traditions, which were first related and documented in 1924 by Kuku Pa, David Marshall Konanui.

Kahuna La 'au Huli


Three generations of spiritual wood turners of the Pola Hanau tradition.