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                  Hau is native to most tropical countries in the Pacific.  It is believed that hau was brought to

                   Hawaii by the early settlers. (Intorduced) It is found from the shore to an elevation of about

                   2,000 feet.


                  Because of its usefulness Hau was held in very high regard and it was a serious offence for a

                  Maka’ainana (commoner) to cut any hau without first obtaining permission from a Konohiki or

                  Ali’I to do so.


                  In addition to being used for ‘iako and ama, hau was vitital for making fire.  Rubbing a harder

                  wood like ‘ohi’a or olomea against a piece of hau was how fire was made. 

                  The bark of the hau was used for making rope and kapa.  Pieces of Hau were used for floaters

                  for fishing nets.


                  Hau grows in thick tangled forests with its branches that naturally curve frequently creating

                  A natural arch required for a good ‘iako.  Shaping  an arch into a hau log by steaming  in an

                  Imu has been described.  It was also a practice to train and shape young braches of the hau

                  into the desired arching shape with the use of other branches and ropes.




  Two types of Hau are recognized:


                  Hau ko’I’i: Very hard wood, flower and leave have a reddish tinge to it, bark has many

                                      folds. Flower Stems remain on the branch ends for a long time forming dry

                                     clusters of Stems. Planted for shad and wind breaks.





                  Hau kae kae: Yellow flower, smooth bark , wood is softer than Ko’I’i . This type was

                                     Used for ‘iako and ama. The bark was used for making cordage and ropes.



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