Watch as urban artist Kamea Hadar brings the Hawaiian legend of the naupaka flower to life on the parking structure of the Kamehameha Schools retail complex, SALT at Our Kaka‘ako. The makai-facing wall of the structure features Naupaka – sister of the fire goddess Pele, and the mauka-facing wall depicts Kaui, her lover. KS Director of Natural and Cultural Resources Jason Jeremiah explains how the trust is incorporating Native Hawaiian elements in its Kaka‘ako commercial development projects in this vibrant video.
Contributed by Mae Nishimura
Renowned local street artist Kamea Hadar has portrayed the Hawaiian legend of the naupaka flower on the parking structure of the Kamehameha Schools retail complex, SALT at Our Kaka‘ako.
Hadar recently completed and signed the two murals. The makai-facing wall of the structure features Naupaka – sister of the fire goddess Pele, and the mauka-facing wall depicts Kaui, her lover.
“It’s extremely important for us to collaborate with local artists and continue to incorporate Native Hawaiian identity in our commercial development projects,” says Bob Oda, KS Commercial Real Estate senior planning and development manager.
Hadar co-founded the annual Pow!Wow! Hawaii street mural festival which engages the community in the process and creation of art. He is among a group of artists commissioned by KS to create culturally inspired murals throughout Our Kakaʻako and SALT at Our Kakaʻako.
The urban artist likens modern street art to petroglyphs that Native Hawaiians used to preserve their cultural heritage.
“Ancient Hawaiians put imagery on walls or carved them into rocks to pass on stories,” says Hadar. “A lot of Hawaiian painters are furthering that tradition; telling their stories on walls.
“You can tell stories, educate, and do all kinds of beautiful things with just a thin layer of paint on what would normally be a wall that you would just walk right by. Murals bring more pedestrian traffic into urban areas allowing small cafes, restaurants, and businesses to survive – building up the community.”
The murals are an integral part of Kamehameha’s Kaiāulu ‘o Kaka‘ako Master Plan which details the transformation of the Kaka‘ako kaiāulu (community) into a sustainable urban village.
“The Kaiāulu ‘o Kaka‘ako Master Plan includes the vision of building gathering spaces where innovative ideas can be shared throughout the community,” says Oda. “The next time you’re in the area, visit SALT at Our Kakaʻako and enjoy the various murals located in the retail complex.”
The Mo‘olelo of Naupaka
One version of the naupaka flower legend speaks of the two star-crossed lovers: Naupaka – sister of the fire goddess Pele, and Kaui – a fisherman. Pele became jealous of their affection and sought to kill the couple.
To escape Pele’s fury, Kaui bolted into the mountains while Naupaka fled into the sea. After they died, flowers began to grow near the seashore and in the mountains that were similar yet distinctive – the naupaka kahakai and the naupaka mauka. The couple’s love is symbolized by the similarity of the blossoms, but sadly the two are forever destined to live apart.
View more photos of the Naupaka murals here.
STRATEGIC PLAN 2020
SP2020 is a five-year strategic plan that will guide Kamehameha Schools from 2015 to 2020. The plan marks a starting point toward KS’ Vision 2040, which envisions success for all Native Hawaiian learners.
SALT at Kaka‘ako addresses Goal 3 of SP2020 which calls for shared customs, values and behaviors that strengthen our identity as a Native Hawaiian organization. It also supports Action 6 of Kamehameha’s Ten Actions for fiscal year 2016-2017, adopt cultural principles.
KS is transforming Kaka‘ako from an industrial zone to an urban-island neighborhood bordered by Ala Moana Boulevard, Halekauwila Street, South Street and Ward Avenue. The community is rooted in authenticity, creativity, and cultural responsibility, and like all KS commercial projects its income supports the trust’s educational mission. Learn more at ourkakaako.com.
SALT at Our Kakaʻako is a KS-owned retail complex named after the salt ponds that once dotted the wetlands of Kaka‘ako. SALT is a dynamic city block designed for exploration and engagement. The 85,000-square-foot community gathering place is home to a mix of eclectic eateries and retail shops including Highway Inn, Hank’s Haute Dogs, Paiko and Bevy. They will soon be joined by businesses including Orangetheory Fitness and Moku Kitchen – a restaurant by Chef Peter Merriman. Get a taste of SALT at saltatkakaako.com.