The Tempest of Hina

After ten years of setbacks, Hanapi’s grand sculpture continues to wait.



Alapa`i Hanapi used a mini jackhammer, as well as diamond tools and gauges, to create a goddess out of a six ton stone. Taking nearly a year to carve, Hina has been complete for over a decade.

While Hanapi is eagerly awaiting the transport of Hina, he is respectfully asking community members not come to his property. The completed statue will eventually find a home in the county courtyard next to the Kaunakakai library.

By Jennifer Smith

With closed eyes and an open arm, Hina, earth mother, sits in a contemplative position. Before her, the ferocity of a storm is contained in a magic gourd. A lid resting atop the gourd is left slightly open.

As bold as it is beautiful, the thought provoking and almost chilling sculpture of Hina appears somewhat unsettled on the lawn at Alapa`i Hanapi’s property in Mana`e, East Molokai.

The nearly six ton stone sculpture of mama Hina has sat here, finished for more than ten years. Red tape, misunderstandings, and bureaucratic confusion have prevented her from being transported to her intended home: a platform in the county courtyard next to the Kaunakakai Library.

Alapa`i Hanapi

Old enough to be a landmark, the first thing in view on Hanapi’s property is a camouflaged “Native Rights” sign at the entrance.

Further into the jungle-lined property there is a smell of fragrant wood burning. The smoke sits in the humid air like a misty fog.

Carvings of all sizes and stages of completion can be found here and there. Some of them are covered up while others sit exposed awaiting Hanapi’s skilled hand.

Although there is much to greet the senses there is one piece of work that immediately demands attention: it is a giant rock carving of Hina. She is perhaps Hanapi’s greatest creation.

Wearing a weathered New World Order T-shirt, and a muku (an ancient haircut worn by Hawaiian guardians at war), Hanapi describes his own battle that has been ongoing for many years.

“Hina needs to find her home,” says Hanapi. After ten years of conflict with the state, he has finally decided to speak out and explain to the people of Molokai why they have yet to see a sculpture that he says was, “created for the people.”

“I’m tired of carrying this burden on my shoulder; I need to let the people know…I want the people to have their sculpture,” said Hanapi.

Hanapi received a commission in 1994 from the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) to create a sculpture to be displayed in Kaunakakai where the old courthouse used to be.

With a committee of Molokai residents, Hanapi began the process by developing several ideas that would reflect the culture of the Friendly Isle.

Determined to create something that Molokai people, “could be proud of and learn from,” Hanapi made several proposals including Pu`inokolu`a Hina, The Three Wind Storms of Hina.

Pu`inokolu`a Hina

The deified mother and father of all Hawaiians, the goddess Hina and her husband Wakea produced a child: the island of Molokai.

“Molokai nui a Hina,” Great Molokai, born of the Goddess Hina.

A mother who watches over her child, Hina visits Molokai during the three fullest moons. She is the keeper of the sacred wind gourd, Wawahonua`aho. When the land of Molokai is mistreated, she opens the gourd to release three increasingly violent storms.

Hanapi explained that the chant from which the sculpture originated is meant as a figurative warning to leaders and other stewards of the land. It is kapu, a sacred chant focusing on the protection of Molokai and its environment.

“We need it right now. We need some good leadership here on Molokai,” Hanapi said.

According to the chant, Hina’s first storm uproots trees and twirls shrubbery. The second causes the skies to darken and thunder to crash.

If man still does not recognize his negative impacts on the land, Hina releases Luluku, the final wind, which is the destroyer of man.

Crushed are the chiefs who mistreat her child. 

The Sculpture

With the subject and model chosen, Hanapi felt it was important that he found a stone from Molokai to work with. As such he said he “had to pray in order to locate the stone.”

He eventually found it in a Kamalo rock quarry. With permission from the land manager, Bishop Estate, Hanapi chose a dense, compact stone which he could tell had been quarried from deep within the earth.

Using diamond tools and gouges, it took Hanapi nearly a year to etch Hina from a six ton boulder. Little did he know an entire decade would pass with the sculpture remaining unshown.

Although the sculpture was completed in 1997, budgeting issues led to the delay of the fifth and final phase of his contract: transporting and installing the sculpture in its intended location.

At this point Hanapi was stuck. “I needed to find the funds to transport her, but I also needed permission to do so,” he said.  

Going back and forth with the state, the project seemed to be at a standstill with no compromise in sight.  

Theodore Dudoit

Having watched kids playing on the empty platform in Kaunakakai for years Theodore Dudoit wanted to know where the community’s sculpture was.

Upon learning of the bureaucratic quagmire, Dudoit nominated himself the community advocate for bringing mama Hina home.

“Alapa`i is not the easiest man to communicate with,” Dudoit said. Acknowledging the challenge of working with two parties that have a history of disagreements, Dudoit has worked as a mediator between the artist and the state for the last two years.

In March of 2006, Dudoit arranged for the Hanapi to meet with representatives from the Hawaii SFCA.

The state agreed to author an apology and commendation letter for Hanapi. Hanapi and Dudoit agreed to find a contractor and arrange for the transportation and placement of Hina. A hand shake sealed the agreement.

Further Delays

But after a Molokai-based contractor had been selected, the plug was pulled again. The contractor was informed that he needed to electronically submit a bid in order to formalize the procurement process.

In November of 2007, after the bidding process was completed a second time, the job was again halted once more. The state is currently reviewing the protest of another contractor who claims the bid was unlawful. A completion date for the review is not available.

Project Manager Jonathon Johnson said he is, “unable to discuss the subject project at this time per our Deputy Attorney General.”

Deputy Attorney General, Patricia Ohara said the state has always supported the completion of the project and that they, “haven’t given up on it.”

Until the state can decide who will transport and install the sculpture in Kaunakakai, Hina will remain waiting in Hanapi’s yard.

When it rains, Hina appears to be weeping. When the sun shines, she looks resilient and strong. Her cascading hair resembles the valleys of Molokai while the varying textures throughout the sculpture contrast the smooth and patient appearance of her face.

At her base, Hina is surrounded by the small bits of rock that were chipped away to reveal her form.  The stone fragments have slowly been reabsorbed into the earth through the years, detailing a process that has taken far too long.  


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.