KOA

Acacia Koa

Koa

Koa

Scientific Name: Acacia Koa

Endemic

Koa is sort of a mysterious plant to ethnobotanists as Koa is found no where else in Polynesia. Its closest relative is found in Australia. 

Cultural Use

Koa wood was used for everything from spears to surfboards. It was most importantly used for waʻa or canoe. Koa wood was not used for food as the resin caused a bitter taste.  

ʻŌlelo Noʻeau

365
E ola koa.
Live like a koa tree.
Live a long time, like a koa tree in the forest.
398   
Ha‘alele koa wa‘a i koa kanaka.
The koa canoe has departed leaving the warriors behind.
Said when a canoe goes off and leaves the people behind, either in the water or on land.
1623 
Ka ulu koa i kai o Oneawa.
The koa grove down at Oneawa.
From the legend of Hi‘iaka. Canoes are sometimes referred to as the koa grove at sea, for canoes in ancient times were made of koa.

Handy, Edward Smith Craighill., and Elizabeth Green. Handy. Native Planters of Old Hawaii: Their Life, Lore and Environment. Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1972.

Pukui, Mary Kawena. Olelo Noeau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings . Bishop Museum Press. 

 

 

 

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