The Biographical Research Center
Ka Hana Kapa documents the history of kapa making in Hawaii and follows the complex process of Hawaiian kapa making from start to finish. Hawaiian kapa is one of the most beautiful art forms in the Pacific. In ancient Hawaii, kapa, or bark cloth made from the wauke plant (Broussonetia papynfera), was used for clothing, bedding, the wrapping of precious iwi (ancestors’ bones), important ceremonies, and a myriad of other purposes, making it an integral part of everyday life in Hawaiian society.
But with the coming of foreigners and western cloth, the practice fell into decline, and by the end of the 19th century, kapa making had all but ended. During the late 1960s and the 1970s, as part of what is now often called the Hawaiian Renaissance, a small group of women sought to revive this ancient art. Ka Hana Kapa is the story of kapa making in Hawaii, as told by these dedicated women and their students, who have given new life to this intricate cultural practice.
The Biographical Research Center is a 501©(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Hawaii to support research, study, discussion and dissemination of information about life writing. The co-producers for this film are Joy Chong-Stannard (Director/ Editor), Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl (Writer), and Craig Howes (Series Scholar).