instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

The Woman in the Moon

Hina, the best tapa maker in the land, escapes the toil of her life and finds a better place.

Illustrated by Carla Golembe, ages 4-8

I was attracted to this particular Hawaiian legend because it had a strong female role model. Ancient Hawaiians lived under many restrictions (women in particular), but they managed to transcend this oppression through their undying spirit of adventure, imagination and artistic expression.

THE WOMAN IN THE MOON afforded me the opportunity to research folklore, tapa-making, and the customs of everyday life in ancient Hawai'i. It gave me a renewed appreciation for how much the Hawaiians revered and loved the beauty of the natural world, and how they were able to transform these feelings into art.

Activities Across the Curriculum

Most of these ideas are from Donald D.Kilolani Mitchell's fine book, RESOURCE UNITS IN HAWAIIAN CULTURE (Honolulu:Kamehameha Schools Press), 1992.

1. Make your own classroom "tapa."

a) Crumple wrapping paper.
b) Flatten it out and soak in water.
c) Press flat with an iron if possible.
d) Apply designs using a taut string or stamp dipped in native dye or paint.

2. Make your own dyes out of locally available natural materials such as leaves, petals, berries, or bark.

a) Soak petals, leaves or berries for a few hours to several days.
b) Crush and process these materials before they begin to decay.
c) Add cold or hot water to the crushed tissues. Simmer if the color is too pale (adding salt sometimes improves the color).
d) To obtain dye from roots or stem bark, scrape off outer bark, pound, crush, or soak the inner color-bearing layer in fresh water. Simmer to deepen color.
e) Strain through a cloth to remove plant particles.

3. Sketch your own patterns or designs, using the shapes of natural objects or animals as a model.

4. Make drawings of clothing worn by the ancient Hawaiians.

5. Write about or draw your ideal home.

6. Compose a chant or legend relating to your own ethnic background, or use some of the Hawaiian words in the glossary to write a new story.

7. Research other moon legends or related moon lore.

8. Research another Hawaiian art form, such as lauhala weaving, shell jewelry, lei-making, featherwork, or wood carving.

Hawaiian Quilt, Bishop Museum

All website content copyright © 2005-2019 Jama Kim Rattigan, and should not be reproduced in any form without permission. All rights reserved.