An Analysis of the Ancient Practice of Hawaiian Kite- Introduction Abstract Kite use in prehistoric

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Transcript of An Analysis of the Ancient Practice of Hawaiian Kite- Introduction Abstract Kite use in prehistoric

  • Page 1

    Ho'olele Lupe

    -An Analysis of the Ancient Practice of Hawaiian Kite-flying

    A Senior Honors Thesis Presented to

    The Faculty of the Department of Anthropology University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

    In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree

    Bachelor of Arts with Honors

    By Damion Sailors

    May 9, 2011


    Dr. Terry Hunt - Primary Advisor Dr. Joseph Genz - External Advisor

    Dr. Carlos Andrade -Committee Member

  • Page 2


    To all those who helped my kites fly,

    My pursuit of this research has been a long and productive journey and one that I could not

    have successfully navigated without the help of several individuals and organizations. I wanted

    to learn all I could in regards to Ho'olele Lupe and it was and the advice I received from my

    mentors and family that served as a veritable chart for my academic explorations.

    To my primary and external advisors, Dr. Terry Hunt and Dr. Joseph Genz respectively,

    thank you both for taking my research topic seriously and for reining me in when I had strayed

    too far from a solid anthropological course. I also want to thank Dr. Carlos Andrade of the

    Hawaiian Studies Department who joined my advisors as a member of the examination

    committee and brought his expertise in Hawaiian matters to the project.

    I would like to thank my academic benefactors who collectively allowed me to accomplish

    the ambitious goals I had set forth with this study. Throughout my last four semesters I found

    support through RAPS (Regents and Presidential Scholarships - Board of Regents), Arts and

    Sciences Research Award (Office of Community and Alumni Relations), the Student Research

    Award (Associated Students of the University of Hawai'i) and the Carol Eastman Award

    (Anthropology Department - UH at Mānoa). Mahalo for your investment in my work.

    Finally, I wanted to thank my family and friends. A significant acknowledgement goes to

    my mother Constance Thummel, who has always allowed me creative freedom and pursuits

    in my life that I feel were reflected in this assignment. Without the confidence she has instilled

    in me, I am sure my kites would have never gotten off the ground. Also, my very special hānai

    family (Benton Family Farms), that I grew up with on the Big Island, deserves another major

    acknowledgement for supporting me in the toughest of times, being solid "god-parents", and

    for believing that my work is an inspiration. I would also like to thank my Uncle Craig for

    showing consistent enthusiasm for all of my adventures and for the rest of my ‘ohana for

    always being there for me. For all of my friends and classmates who contributed directly or

    indirectly, I want you all to know that I am deeply appreciative for your input. You all were the

    wind in my sails. Ho'okauahe'ahe - fly steadily as a kite...

    Mahalo nui!

    Damion Sailors

  • Page 3

    Table of Contents 2 Table of 3 List of 4-5 Introduction

    o Research Problem and 6-8 Background

    o Diffusionist Origin of the Oceanic 8-10 o History and Social Relevance of Ho'olele Lupe in Hawai' 10-16 o The Demise of the Kite in Hawai' 16-17 o Kites of Oceania - An Archival Overview

     Asia……………………………………………………………… 18  Near 19-21  Remote 21-26

    Methodology o Experimental 26-28 o Phase #1"How were traditional Hawaiian kites shaped?" 28

     Bishop Museum 28-29  Hawaiian Petroglyphs and Ho'olele 29-37

    o Phase #2 "How were traditional Hawaiian kites built?"

     Aspect Index, Controls and Kite 37-39  39-42  Gathering 42-43  Construction 44-46

    o Phase #3 "How were traditional Hawaiian kites flown?" 47-49 Results and Discussion

    o Shape 50-51 o Flight 51-54 o Other 55-56 o 57

    Conclusion o Future 58-60

    Appendix o I - Oceanic Kites of Bishop 61-63 o II - Experimental Kite 64 o III - Class Journal "12 Steps to Making Kapa" 65-71 o IV -Ho'olele Lupe Project: Data 72-73 o V - Stability Scale and Beaufort Wind Ranges for Oceanic 74 o VI - Oceanic Kite Data 75-79 80-83

  • Page 4

    List of Figures

    Tables: 1. "Notable Behaviors of Oceanic Kite Use"

    Damion Sailors 2011 2. "Total Documented Petroglyphs of Hawaii at 1823"

    Cox, J. Haley and Stasaks, Edward 1970 Hawaiian Petroglyphs. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu: (pp.7)

    3. "Hawaiian Kite Plant Chart" Damion Sailors 2010

    4. "Kahana Plant Samples - Georeferenced" Damion Sailors 2010

    5. "Experimental Flight Results" Damion Sailors 2011


    1. "Aspect Variation of Oceanic Kites" Damion Sailors 2011

    2. Beaufort Stability Curve - Ho'okauahe'ahe Damion Sailors 2010

    3. Sub-section of Austronesian Language Tree

    Internet Source: "Google Images" (February 17th,


    Maps: 1. "Diffusion of the Kite from Southeast Asia"

    Damion Sailors 2011 2. "Kites of Oceania"

    Damion Sailors 2010 3. "Location of Pu'uloa on Big Island of Hawaii"

    McBride, Likeke

    1969 Petroglyphs of Hawaii. Petroglyph Press, Ltd., Hilo: (pp.36)

    4. "Kahana Plant Samples"

    Damion Sailors 2010

    Using "GPS Tracker" IPhone App and Google Maps Imagery (USGS)

    5. "Flying Lupe Maoli at Kualoa, Oahu"

    Damion Sailors 2011

    Images: 1. "Te Rangi Hiroa Kite"

    Buck, Peter 1927 The Material Culture of the Cook Islands (Aitutaki).Thomas Avery and Sons, New Plymouth: (pp. 331)

    2. "Examples of Hawaiian 'Kite-like' Petroglyphs" Stasaks, Ed 2009 Email correspondence

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    3. "Petroglyph from Ka'u (Big Island)" Stasaks, Ed 2009 Email correspondence

    4. "Manu tukutuku / Polynesian Bird Kite" Hart, Clive 1967 Kites, An Historical Survey. Praeger, New York: (pp.59)

    5. "Possible Kite Petroglyphs - South Point Big Island" Damion Sailors 2010

    6. "The Lupe Lele" with labeling by Damion Sailors Culin, Stewart 1899 Hawaiian Games. American Anthropologist. Vol. 2: (pp. 224)

    7. "From left to right: Lupe Mahina, Lupe La, Lupe Maoli, and Lupe Manu Teketeke Vaihi" - Damion Sailors 2010

    8. "Bishop "Crescent" Kite Damion Sailors 2010

    9. "Lupe Mahina Kite Template" Damion Sailors 2010

  • Page 6


    Abstract Kite use in prehistoric and early historic Oceania was wide spread and practiced for a variety of reasons. Oral traditions and ethnographic accounts on a pan-Pacific scale speak of ancient kites that exploited the wind in creative and practical ways. In Hawai'i, these practices included chiefly competition, fishing, meteorology, navigation, spiritual meditation and as one heroic chant dedicated to the demi-god Maui states, for pulling canoes at great speed. Unfortunately, in the Pacific Island archaeological record, there is a dearth of material evidence related to kite-flying and consequently the subsequent analysis of this enigmatic technology required alternative research methods which primarily focused