Gordon Umialiloalahanauokalakaua Kai & Janice Leinaala Noweo Kai
Gordon ‘Umialiloalahanauokalakaua Kai (“Umi” to his friends) crafted his first Hawaiian weapon over 45 years ago. Made from the wood of a mango tree and ringed with shark teeth, his first leiomano or “lei of the shark,” is still with him. Umi is not the only artist in the family; Janice Leinaala Noweo Kai, his wife of 42 years, is a skilled weaver. With over 45 years of experience learning about and crafting na mea Hawai‘i, including na mea kaua (things of war), Umi and Leinaala are part of a small group of Native Hawaiian artists perpetuating the craft of making tools and weapons that were once essential to survival.