Preparation for ʻŪniki 2022
Our ʻūniki was originally planned 2020 May. However, due to the Covid-19, ours is postponed….
We could finally have our ʻūniki September 2022.
I would like to leave a record of it for myself and our next generation.
There are lots of things we have to prepare before our ʻŪniki.
1. Collect Ti Leaves (Tons of Ti) and cut.
2. Find and Prepare Hala fruits.
3. Collect Palapalai fern and cut in certain length.
4. Make Leis.
5. Check the site (‘Ulupō Heiau this time). Decide where to Hula.
6. Prepare Program for ‘Aha Hōʻike.
7. Of course practice!!
8. Imu prepared by Hula sisters parents.
9. Ordering Maile leis in advance.
While we are in training…
There are lots and lots to do before ‘ūniki….
These preparations above are only after we got to Hawaiʻi for our ʻūniki.
While we are having training either in Japan or Hawaiʻi, we all need to prepare our own costumes, feather lei poʻo, shell kūpeʻe, memorize all the Oli and Hula in our body… etc….
The most difficult preparation among those was making our own costumes by ourselves!! We buy fabrics, but we do make ink by ourselves.
First, we collect many Kukui nuts and crack them. Then we produce oil from the nuts. After that, we burn Leis which we received or made and dried. By mixing the oil and ashes, we can create ink to draw on our ūniki costumes.
*In our tradition, we weren’t allow to wear any patterned Pāʻū until we ʻūniki as ʻŌlapa. (For Kahiko Sake)
*Hawaiian believes Lei is made in Love. So, using Leis to create ink means putting those Loves which was given to us to be forever into our Hula life.
Also, making Feather Lei poʻo (Lei Hulu) is not the easy process. We use colored goose feather and cut all the feathers in the certain length. And start wrapping around the base yarn one by one.
After you got to Hawaiʻi for ʻūniki
When you could go trough all theses preparation, you are finally ready to receive ʻūniki.
The fresh Leis we had to make for this time was below;
1. Spiky Ti leaf Lei Poʻo
2. Tī Leaf twisted kūpeʻe
3. Palapalai Lei Poʻo
4. Hala Lei
5. Spiky Ti leaf kūpeʻe.
6. Leis for guests.
We ordered Maile Lei because it is pretty rare in Oʻahu but essential for our ʻūniki. (Because our Hula root was from Kaua’i.)
This time, we decided to have our ʻūniki at Ulupō Heiau in Kailua, Oʻahu. In our tradition, if there are Kumu Hula to be, then we usually have our ʻūniki at Ke ahu a Laka, Keʻe, Kauaʻi, since our Hula root was from Kauaʻi. However, the Road to go there is damaged due to 2018 flood on Kauaʻi. Also our Kumu is almost 88 years old, and it must be so dangerous for her to go up the mountain road in the dark…. Another reason I personally wanted to have our ʻūniki in Kailua is because of Papa(Kumu’s husband). Papa past away May 2021. I wanted to have ʻūniki where I can strongly feel him. Without him, we couldn’t have our ʻūniki for sure. His support was huge!!
Anyway, these were what we had to done as preparation.