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An abundance of blessings

An abundance of blessings

Mountain of Dreams

A mountain of dreams for our carvers

Blessed with abundance

I was delighted to receive an email from Raymond Mokiao, inviting me to come to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center’s carvers work area to learn about all the great projects they are working on. I hope to share everything I learned in an upcoming blog, but for now, I want to share the story about this tremendous pile of wood we walked past. Wood is the foundation of the Carver’s life. You may walk past a rotting tree and think, “Ugh, what an eyesore”. But the carver will stand quietly and imagine how each piece could be used to showcase a burl, a grain, or a unique pattern of colors. The Carver’s world is about hidden potential, and as I stood there looking at this massive pile of wood, I saw it in action through Raymond’s eyes as he revealed the potential laid out before us.

Tane and the Three Baskets

Tane and the 3 baskets of knowledge out of Kamani

Raymond began by explaining “We recently acquired at least 50 tons of wood – probably close to a $100,000 value. Much of it came from the trees removed from the parking lot in front of the Joseph F. Smith administration building.

We’ve never had this much wood resource, so this is a really good harvest for us. We now have a variety of Kamani, Ohai (Monkey Pod), Norfolk Pine, and Coconut.

Teko Teko Tiki

Teko Teko tiki out of Ohia

We normally get our wood from locals who will call and say “oh, we are trimming a tree”. We are grateful for the donations, but it’s expensive to go across the island to get the wood. We also receive donated wood from the community on a regular basis, much of which we use for the villages to burn.

So, what can we do with this wood in front of us?

Mountain Landscape

Mountain Landscape project out of Ohia

Coconut is good for making a limited amount of weapons and often used for drums. The Norfolk Pine, though not indigenous, is a really good wood for creating bowls and platters. Ohau is a favorite for a number of artistic pieces.

There are other types of wood that we’ve also acquired. The ohia logs are from the Big Island and are used for our buildings. Ironwood is often used for weapons, especially when it’s been requested by a buyer. It is also burned in the imus for the luaus at Hale Aloha and Hale Ohana.


Large bowl out of Ohia

During this time of closure, it’s comforting to know that Heavenly Father still provides opportunity to “Preserve and protect the Polynesian culture.” We are grateful for the skilled carvers of the PCC and their lifelong commitment to this important art form.