HLRI Completes Display Featuring Hawaiian High Chief Ke‘eaumoku Pāpa‘iahiahi  

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Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative Completes Master Featherwork Art Replica

of Cloak and Helmet Worn by Hawaiian High Chief Ke‘eaumoku Pāpa‘iahiahi
The historic collection will be on permanent display at The Kahala Hotel & Resort on Oahu

Honolulu, Hawaii, September 23, 2015
– The nonprofit Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI) and The Kahala Hotel & Resort have today unveiled the second set of Hawaiian featherwork pieces in an historic collection unlike any other in the world.


Created by renowned Hawaiian featherwork artist Rick San Nicolas, the cloak and helmet of Hawaiian High Chief Ke‘eaumoku Pāpa‘iahiahi was inspired by the painting “Aha‘ula O Kamehameha Kunuiākea” by Brook Kapukuniahi Parker, artist and Hawaiian historian. Ke‘eaumoku Pāpa‘iahiahi lived from 1736–1804 and was instrumental in helping King Kamehameha I ascend to the throne as Hawaii’s first king.


Commissioned by HLRI, this set is the second in a series of 14, representing each of the Hawaiian leaders depicted in “Aha‘ula O Kamehameha Kunuiākea.” This set will be on permanent display at The Kahala Hotel & Resort on Oahu, housed in a museum-quality custom koa case created by award-winning wood artisan Alan Wilkinson.  


San Nicolas, one of only a few known practicing ancient Hawaiian featherwork artisans in the world, started working on this series in 2013, first completing the cloak, sash and helmet of King Kamehameha I. Unveiled in June 2014, those pieces are on permanent display at the Four Seasons Hualālai on Hawaii Island.


The cloak of Ke‘eaumoku Pāpa‘iahiahi measures 60 inches in length and 108 inches in width at its base and contains approximately 200,000 individual Lady Amherst Pheasant feathers, in addition to nearly 50,000 feathers from the Chinese Golden Pheasant. The spoked crescent-shaped helmet features approximately 45,000 feathers. All feathers were ethically sourced as a bi-product of pheasants harvested for food. Each piece is hand-woven by San Nicolas in keeping with traditional artisan methodologies from ancient Hawaiian history, taking a total of 4,240 hours to complete.


“We are excited to partner with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative to provide our guests with educational and enriching experiences that reflect Hawaii’s rich culture and history,” said Carmine Iommazzo, general manager of The Kahala Hotel & Resort.


“No known featherwork pieces or depictions exist of Ke‘eaumoku Pāpa‘iahiahi’s full cloak, so I spent months researching the design around the back that correlates with the front sections shown in Brook Kapukuniahi Parker’s painting,” San Nicolas said. “I sought advisement from experts at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu when starting the collection. It is such an honor to work on this project, and it represents a critical continuation of Hawaiian featherwork. Few modern pieces of this type are available to the public, and it is estimated in historic accounts that there are less than 30 ancient Hawaiian featherwork cloaks in existence worldwide.”


In ancient times, these prized pieces were worn into battle and at important events by Hawaiian chiefs and leaders. They were made from the feathers of birds including the ‘I‘iwi, (Hawaiian honeycreeper), and the ‘Ō‘ō, an extinct bird that had yellow tufts of feathers under the wing and near the tail.


“The reforestation efforts spearheaded by Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods (HLH) and HLRI have re-established critical habitat for many of these endemic Hawaiian species, some of which are endangered,” said Jeff Dunster, HLRI executive director. “This ongoing featherwork collection provides an important link between Hawaiian history and our efforts to preserve these rare forests for future generations.”


HLH is working closely with the nonprofit Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative to plant more than 1.3 million endemic koa, sandalwood and other endangered Hawaiian species across the Hawaiian Islands. Through the sponsorship of Legacy Trees, they have planted more than 300,000 trees while raising funds for more than 330 nonprofits worldwide.


Watch the cloak creation in a 1-minute time-lapse video  https://youtu.be/5kvqAALXxrs


About HLRI: Through state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies, the nonprofit organization HLRI works with landowners to establish and preserve economically viable and sustainable endemic Hawaiian forests, protect endangered species, sequester carbon and recharge watersheds.  HLRI’s Legacy Trees are planted for permanent reforestation and are sponsored by businesses and individuals, with a portion of proceeds donated to charities worldwide.  For more, visit www.LegacyTrees.org.  For more on Legacy Tree Planting Tours, visit www.HawaiianLegacyTours.com.



Joy MiyamotoHLRI, Aha ula, Kahala, Cape 2