Hala-Leujah: The Old Hawaiian Art of Weaving Lau Hala
Not too many years ago, the late and beloved Auntie Elizabeth Lee (1929 – 2016) would frequently be found at Kings’ Shops and Queens’ MarketPlace, interacting with visitors while teaching them how to make lovely Hawaiian bracelets from the dried leaves of the hala (pandanus) trees that can be found in several prominent locales around Waikoloa Beach Resort and Hawai`i Island. The craft of lauhala plaiting (the term is technically more accurate than “weaving”) is an ancient one in Hawai`i, and Auntie Elizabeth was one of the people most important to its survival into modern times.
In an interview shortly after Auntie’s passing this past August, Barbara Kossow, who was a friend of Auntie and assisted her in her later years, said: “(Lauhala plaiting) was a dying art. She wanted to revive the weaving and get people interested again. Auntie Elizabeth was very generous with her knowledge. She loved teaching people to weave lauhala and she opened up her teaching to everyone.”