Designer Manaola shares his love for KINOLAU, Hawaiian plant life, with his latest illustration KUPUKUPU. The indigenous forest fern can be found abundantly throughout the islands of Hawai`i. The word KUPU means to sprout, grow, increase, or upstart such as the sudden rise of someone to a high position.  KUPUKUPU when paired means to surge forth, as in the spreading of lava and represents the movement of rapid growth. Like the plant’s ability to continuously reproduce offspring, its symbolism as a KINOLAU (leaf body) in the art of Hula is key to the growth process of Hula practitioners.  As a cherished fern adornment KUPUKUPU was placed on the Ku`ahu Hula, (Hula Alter) to honor Laka the goddess of the dance.  Hula dancers would carefully braid these delicate ferns into lei adornments to invoke the spirit of the dance and the ability for knowledge “to kupu” (sprout) and flourish within the dancer.

KUPU, to grow, is also expressed in the tradition of Ho`okupu; to cause growth or the act of gift giving.  In ancient times Ho`okupu were given in honor and respect to our deities and ancient Ali`i (high chiefs).  As living gods who ruled on earth the Ho`okupu offerings would assure abundant vegetation, growth, and prosperity of the land thus feeding the people cultivating the spiritual ecology to move in harmonious balance.  

Today the act of Ho`okupu continues with the same intention.  Gifts are given in hopes to bring growth to the people, places, and relationships we wish to rise and flourish.  With this motif’s long segmented overlapping leaves Designer Manaola presents this pattern as a Ho`okupu (offering) to bring forth all the cause and effects of abundant growth to our land, to mankind, and to each other. 

Kupua`e Ke Aloha (May Love grow and flourish)