ʻIke ʻIkena | Lei Making: Lāʻī, Pua Kenikeni, Pua Melia

Oftentimes, if we wear a lei, someone will ask us, “is it your birthday?” And while birthdays are of course great occasions to wear lei, so is every other day of our lives. Lei are for special times, but they can also be given or worn anytime that you want someone to feel special.

Join Ānuenue Pūnua and her two daughters Koʻiahi and Maʻaloa as she talks about learning how to make lei from her mother and teaches us three common but elegant lei that we can make and give to ourloved ones. Pua kenikeni is not always as easy to find, but pua melia and lāʻī are quite common and abundant. With these three lei in your repertoire, you can make use of the beautiful pua and lāʻī that we see around us so often. As Ānuenue reminds us, a lei is so much more special when it comes from you and the materials come from this ʻāina. Lei making is a tradition in the Pūnua family, and even if it isn’t a tradition in yours, it’s never too late to start.

“One of the blessings that have been given to us is the abundance of pua kenikeni trees, other flower trees like pua melia, as well as lāʻī or ti leaf, to make lei, is something our family is known for doing.”

Ānuenue Punua, Executive Director, Mā‘ilikūkahi ’Āina Momona