For the Home / Every once in a while, you’re driving along until you see a shop so alluring you have to snag a parking space as soon as possible. This happened to me in Wailuku on Maui when Native Intelligence, a gift shop devoted to things Polynesian, moved from a tiny Market Street location to a roomier space I remember from my childhood as a car dealership.
They’ve got 1,600 square feet of some of the finest quality contemporary Hawaiiana I’ve ever seen: hula implements, artwork, kapa, konane and other Hawaiian games, books, a select group of locally made clothing, a small display of books, gorgeous fresh lei (hard to find on Maui beyond the usual Longs dendrobium stuff).
The shop belongs to Jenny Molitau, whose husband, Kaponoai is kumu hula of Na Hanona Kulike ‘O Piilani (Vicky Holt Takamine introduced them years ago). The shop is decorated with fresh greenery: entire trees of ‘ohia lehua, bursts of flowers and hinahina (Spanish moss). While my girlfriend went a bit crazy among the Niihau shell jewelry, I found a last-season, on-sale hand-screened dress that I love ($35). Molitau joked that kumu hula come in every time they get new pahu (drums), ‘ume or ipu heke — “some kumu just can’t ever have enough drums.”
Me, I’m going back for the lau hala, the papale and maybe another dress.