Kanaeokana, which couples nae (a fine-meshed netting upon which feathers were secured to make ‘ahu‘ula, or feather capes) and Kana (a powerful kupua, or demigod, who took the form of cordage that could grow to extraordinary lengths and shapes and served as a hero in multiple mo’olelo) is an apt descriptor for the kula Hawai‘i network. When bound together, the name suggests that “a network of extraordinary strength, flexibility and diverse forms can tackle formidable challenges and create works of unsurpassed beauty.
The nae in Kanaeokana refers to a fine-meshed net used to catch small fish and shrimp. Net-making is an intricate and time-consuming process, and well-maintained nets are vital to feeding a community and sustaining its health and vitality.
A nae is also the base to which feathers are attached when making ʻahuʻula. When the nae is used to construct an ʻahuʻula, it takes generations’ worth of feathers and sometimes the base of an older cloak is joined to the newer nae in order to create the most fitting shape.
By representing the nae in the network’s logo, the members of Kanaeokana are paying homage to the maiau craftsmanship of our traditional artisans and practitioners, and the inter-generational, community-centered thinking that characterizes so much of Hawaiian thought.
The pattern of varying and repeated shapes representing the nae in our logo also symbolizes the unity of purpose with which the network members are coming together. Each node, or knot, in the net connects to other nodes, tying them together and contributing to the strength of the whole.