THE STORY BEHIND THE DESIGN
Although found throughout the Hawaiian islands, nowhere are ‘ama‘u tree ferns found in more abundance than around Kīlauea at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. In fact Halema‘uma‘u, the name of the main volcanic crater, literally means the home of the ‘ama‘u. The striking red color of the young leaves contrasts with the green that they later become and echoes the nightly glow of the adjacent crater lava.
This design highlights the delicate complexity of this tree fern growing on ever changing lava, it highlights the lava’s creative and destructive power. Many Hawaiian legends tell the stories of Kamapua‘a, a mischievous pig demi-god who takes on many forms including the kinolau (physical form) of the ‘ama‘u tree fern. He is best known for his tempestuous fiery relationship with the volcano goddess Pele. This design flirts with the story of their relationship.