Hawaiians made a large variety of fishing nets and net-making itself was a true art. Sewn with fine cordage made from the fibers of the endemic olonā (Touchardia latifolia), the size and shape of a net depended on the type of fishing it would be used for. The maka (the "holes" that make up the net) were partially determined by the type of fish that would be caught. The ʻupena hoʻolei, or throw net, was the inspiration for this print, but it is just one of many types of Hawaiian nets, including bag nets, bordered nets, and scoop nets.
If you look closely at this print, you will see the tiny phrases: "E hoʻolei aku" (toss it out) and "E hoʻolako mai" (supply me with all I need). Our kūpuna taught us to take only what you need for your family and to share with those around you. Many elders express sadness about the dawn of the commercial fishing era and the burden it has placed upon our marine resources. Throw net fishing for "home use" is still an important source of food for many Hawaiians today, but declining fish populations and other marine issues pose a threat to this important cultural practice.
This print and its description were created and written by Kealopiko. Check out all of their products at kealopiko.com!