Moana Eisele (1942-2017)

Moana Eisele was fiercely dedicated to Hawaiian kapa. She never wavered. Moana and fellow Na Hoa Hoala Kapa members, Kats and Happy Tamanaha, led workshops on kapa and hala for Kamehameha Schools teachers and students. This almost 15-year engagement produced a wealth of educational materials for the school’s three campuses.

They worked with Kathy Chock, 4th grade teacher, who stated, “Moana, Happy and Kats provided invaluable cultural information and support to us. The Kamehameha ʻohana gained much manaʻo from their generous sharing and their gifts. Moanaʻs absence leaves a void. Mahalo ke akua for the time we spent together, for the time Moana gave to perpetuate her knowledge.”

Aunty Mo was honored earlier this year by the PA‘I Foundation. Her apprentice, Kamalu du Preez, accepted the award in her behalf. From Kamalu’s speech: “Moana has said that the core of her practice is based on the Hawaiian values of ahonui (patience), hoihi (respect), malama (care), laulima (cooperation), and kuleana (responsibility). She always says that it’s never about what the individual does. It’s about what is important for the larger community to move forward, while standing firmly on the cultural foundation of our past.”

At this year’s T&T, we offer an extra special collection from the estate of our late Board member, Moana Eisele. Her family has generously donated woven objects (lauhala hats, coir bags, plaited fans with shells) collected by Mo when she represented Hawaii at several gatherings of the quadrennial Festival of Pacific Arts. Her collection of muumuus is a historical review of locally designed and printed fabrics. This special sale will also offer one-of-a-kind works made from Moana’s printed ohe kapala fabrics.

For me, the making of kapa is a slice of Hawaiian culture. Even though it is a process very few do anymore, it’s valuable. It teaches discipline and commitment. All the qualities of being human are there...It’s about seeing what you have around you and how you can use it.
— Moana Eisele
Noelani Kimura