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Beamer talks of her Ki`i (puppet) and "Hula Ki`i."
 Click to hear Audio transcript Click to see Video clip
Nona Beamer
Honolulu, 1999
In this clip, Auntie Nona talks about "Hula Ki`i" and describes how, in her hula tradition, the ki`i is made and used.
Length: 2:49

NONA BEAMER: This is the ki`i. Isn't she beautiful? She's a little travel-worn, but she's beautiful. Well, we used to make them out of the baby coconuts. And then wait 'til the coconut was dry, and then make the puka in the back for the finger, and then paint the eyes. And then the different kinds of hair and-and different costume, uh-huh. But I think she's kind of ... beautiful. [LAUGHS] Her eyes are falling. [KISS]. Oh, no they're not.

MAILE LOO: So Sweetheart Grandma used to do this with you?

NONA BEAMER: Yes. Well, we first - I think we began before we were first grade. And it was just ... a way of telling stories, you know, and-and having the puppet in your hand and reacting. And having the same costume. You know. So you would be twins. I liked that, uh-huh.

MAILE LOO: Yeah, that's a very fun thing for a kid to do.

NONA BEAMER: Yeah, uh-huh. 'Cause they feel as though this belongs to them. Uh-huh. It was their-their pet, yeah. Thank you. Well, these represent Hi`iaka, the youngest sister of Pele, and her poetess friend Höpoe. And they were originally made with baby coconuts. And a puka at the back, where you could put the finger in and then you know, bob the head up and down. And the thumb and the little finger, so you could-could wave. And the costume would cover from the tips of the fingers to the elbow. So this would be the-the stance of the ki`i. Uh-huh. M-hm. So we see the wind, uh-huh. We see the sea. Uh-huh. And we're dancing the `ami. Whoo-whoo, whoo-whoo. [LAUGHS] They're fun to tell stories. [CHUCKLES] And of course, if you make um, characters, you know, that tell the stories and the legends, they're very exciting. So the "Hula Ki`I" comes to life with each uh, uh, story and each character that you want to portray. M-hm. We were doing a revival in uh, Moloka`i one year. And we were doing a story where they had a battle at the mountain, and they were throwing stones. So we had fashioned little crepe paper stones, and we threw--[CHUCKLES]. And the children threw them back to us. [LAUGHS] And the puppets were dodging, not to get hit by the stones the children threw. [CHUCKLES] Well, I was glad that they thought it was so real, you know. Uh-huh. So "Hula Ki`i" is lots of fun, and it does make the stories come to life.


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