KITV News 4: HLRI Aha'ula Cloak Unveling at the Hawaiia Convention Center

KITV 4 News report on the unveiling of Hawaiian Feathers newest masterpieces, the cloak and helmet of Ali'i Kekuhaopi`o, Kamehameha's Senior Advisor.

KHON 2 Living 808: 'Ahu'ula Collection

The Aha‘ula Collection is an historic series of 14 featherwork, woodwork, and painting displays that highlight the state’s rich history, culture, and environment. This first-of-its-kind series depicts some of Hawaii’s most legendary leaders who were the original stewards of the land in Hawaii. This was commissioned by the nonprofit the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative in 2013 with the goal of reaching thousands of residents and visitors .

Founders & Visionaries: Hawaiian Legacy

Kim Gennaula Hagi takes her husband, Guy Hagai, and their kids for a re-visit of the King Kamehameha's koa forest, Hawaii Legacy Forest, Umikoa, off the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island, Hawaii.

HLH: Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Cape Collection

HLH, a sustainable forestry company based on Hawaii Island, yesterday unveiled a collection of featherwork art reproductions of a cape, sash and helmet worn by King Kamehameha I in honor of Kamehameha Day, celebrated each year in Hawaii on June 11 to honor the first king of Hawaii.

The three intricate pieces, commissioned by HLH in early 2013, were created by renowned Hawaiian featherwork artist Rick San Nicolas based on the painting “Aha Ula O Kamehameha Kunuiakea” by Brook Kapukuniahi Parker, an artist and Hawaiian historian. The pieces were dedicated in a private ceremony and blessing yesterday at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Hawaii Island, where they will remain on display in a custom koa wood case by award-winning wood artisan Alan Wilkinson, along with a rare uhiuhi wood spear crafted by traditional Hawaiian weapon maker Manny Mattos.

“HLH spearheaded this featherwork project as part of our ongoing efforts to enhance awareness around the restoration of habitat for endangered species,” said Jeff Dunster, HLH CEO. “Some of the feathers used in King Kamehameha’s original cape were sourced from bird species that are now extinct. Through the planting of endemic trees such as koa, we aim to re-establish a critical habitat for a variety of these species, many found nowhere else on Earth.”

Throughout the past four years, HLH and the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI), the nonprofit arm of HLH, has planted more than 250,000 endemic koa, sandalwood and many other endangered Hawaiian species across more than 650 acres in the first-of-its-kind Legacy Forest above historic Umikoa Village on the slopes of Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island.

“This site was once a majestic koa forest and the personal property of King Kamehameha I,” Dunster said. “Less than 10 percent of these old-growth forests are still in existence. Through the efforts of more than 300 charities and Legacy Partners, and thousands of individual tree sponsors, this forest is coming back. Trees planted just over four years ago are already reaching heights of 40 feet or more. With a goal of planting 1.3 million endemic trees, we still have a lot to do, and we cannot do it alone.”

The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, a longtime HLH partner, has committed to planting 500,000 koa Legacy Trees in the HLRI Legacy Forest in conjunction with the luxury hotel collection’s global tree-planting initiative, celebrating its 50th anniversary.

“Working with HLH on projects like this breathtaking featherwork display and the Legacy Forest helps us give guests a deeper, more meaningful connection to Hawaii’s rich history and culture,” said Robert Whitfield, regional vice president and general manager of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. “The positive environmental impact of the Legacy Forest is already evident as bird species return there, including the endemic Hawaiian owl (Pueo), the endemic Hawaiian hawk (I`o) and the endemic Hawaiian nene – all endangered.”

The cape, which measures 60 inches in length, uses nearly a quarter million individual golden breast feathers from Chinese golden pheasants. The sash, which is nearly 12 feet long and six inches wide, is feathered on both sides featuring the reddish-orange feathers of the Lady Amherst pheasant in addition to those of the golden pheasant. The hand-woven helmet is made entirely of golden pheasant feathers. All feathers were sourced as a bi-product of pheasants harvested for food.

“This three-piece collection represents more than 4,500 hours of work, including the help of a master weaver and a small team of assistants in preparing the feathers,” said artist Rick San Nicolas, who has created featherwork pieces for 15 years. “It is a great honor for me to be able to do this work and to contribute to the perpetuation of the art of ancient Hawaiian featherwork.”

"Artist stitches together Ali`i Nui replica cloaks"

A new display at a Hawaii hotel evokes a time when Ali'i Nui – high chiefs – ruled the land in feathered cloaks. The artist who crafted the display is stitching together Hawaiian history one piece at a time.

“The cape is part of a big collection, part of a 14 cape collection commissioned by the Hawaiian Legacy Forest,” said Rick San Nicholas. San Nicholas was compelled to weave replica cloaks after seeing a painting of Kamehameha I surrounded by 14 chiefs who were all wearing feathered capes. Last year, he recreated the cloak worn by Kamehameha, and now, he's begun to make the cloaks worn by the chiefs. “After the research on the first one, it really made the second one much easier for me to go through knowing what I see at the Bishop Museum and being blessed with just having the opportunity to go there,” he said.For San Nicholas, the workmanship isn't as tough as parting with his creation – a sort of bitter sweet ahui hou. “The difficult part is letting them go. Letting them go is just like letting one of your own go.” San Nicholas' first cape is displayed at the Four Seasons Hualalai. His latest work now stands proudly in the lobby of the Kahala Hotel and Resort.While San Nicholas isn't the only Hawaiian feather-work practitioner, he hopes his pieces will inspire others and this type of art will thrive.

"'Ahu'ula O Papaiahiahi"

"Hawaii: Replicas of royal garb — with 250,000 feathers — go on display"

As Hawaii celebrates King Kamehameha Day on Wednesday, a recently created feather cape, helmet and sash, which recall the monarch who is being honored across the state, will go on display.

The featherworks were commissioned by Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods and created by artist Rick San Nicolas. They use nearly a quarter-million pheasant feathers in the re-creation of garments worn by Kamehameha, who united the Hawaiian Islands by 1810. He died in 1819. He is honored each year on June 11, a state holiday. In Hawaii, feathered garments denoted status and as such could be worn only by the elite. The ahu ula (cape) and mahiole (helmets) were worn by the most powerful chiefs, or alii, and were sometimes given as gifts. Capt. James Cook received several in the late 1770s from Kalaniopuu, the main chief of the island of Hawaii, according to the book “ ‘Ano Lani” by Linda Ching.

Some of the birds that provided the yellow, red, black and brown feathers for the original garments are extinct. Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods, or HLH, a business that focuses on sustainable wood harvesting, became involved in the project to raise awareness for habitat restoration and reforestation. It is working to restore koa forests that once belonged to Kamehameha (who became King Kamehameha I or Kamehameha the Great) on the slopes of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. The featherworks display, which summons the spirit and style of Kamehameha, will be at the Four Seasons Hualalai in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. (The Four Seasons Hualalai has pledged to plant a half-million trees as part of HLH’s reforestation project.)

"King Kamehameha Cape Relica Timeline"

"Featherwork master to be artist at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park"

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaiian featherwork artist Rick Makanaaloha Kiaimeaokekanaka San Nicolas has been named the first artist-in-residence at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. San Nicolas is the founder of the George Naope Hula Festival. Kumu hula Kahai Topolinski recently bestowed him with the title Ke Kumu Hulu Nui or “Master of Hawaiian Featherwork of Old Hawaii.”

The park said Friday San Nicolas will put on an exhibit at the Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium on May 6. He will also discuss his work at the event. The nonprofit National Parks Arts Foundation developed the artist-in-residence program. Programs are proposed for 15 locations at national parks and World Heritage Sites in the U.S.