Jerusha Hagen ’90 Tabori’s third grade class visited Pu’u o Mānoa (Rocky Hill) to harvest wauke, or paper mulberry, to make kapa cloth as part of their Hawaiian studies lessons this year. After picking out a straight stalk of the shrub, Andy Nelson and Shelby Ho ’01, Punahou’s Outdoor Education coordinators for kindergarten through sixth grade, cut it into pieces for the students. Later, outside in the Kosasa Community, students stripped the bark, then pounded it on special boards to flatten the piece as a kapa strip.
For the final part of the project, students plan to print their kapa using stamps they made and natural dye harvested from ‘uki ‘uki berries or ma’o hau hele (yellow hibiscus) found on campus. Students will have a keepsake to use as a bookmark or a decoration for their room that will remind them of the experience. “This particular experience is more about the process than the product,” Tabori said. This project is part of the students’ yearlong exploration of Hawaiian culture and history that leads up to the annual third grade lū‘au, which will take place in late May.