This Hawaiian Cultural Practitioner Has Been Carving Stonework for Decades
Hanalei Hopfe is currently working on a large sculpture of a Hawaiian navigator to be installed at Heiau Ku‘ilioloa in Wai‘anae.
Photos: Aaron K. Yoshino
Hawaiian cultural practitioner and Wai‘anae konohiki Hanalei Hopfe has been carving stone sculptures since he was 10. “And here I am, 68 and still doing it,” he says. “I’m still evolving. It’s an intimate relationship with the stone. They show me who they are, what’s inside the stone. I can see it, and I bring it out. And they all have names, to make it more personal, to give them more mana. All of my work has mo‘olelo, stories, behind it.” He’s currently working on a large sculpture of a kanaka in a malo, 50 inches square, a Hawaiian navigator, to be installed at Heiau Ku‘ilioloa in Wai‘anae.
“Nanaue (The Shark God).” 1982.