Discover Up-and-Coming Native Hawaiian Brands at Nā Mea Hawai’i

Owner-curator Maile Meyer hand-picks every item and here, she shares her latest finds with us.


With footholds in the worlds of art, commerce and local culture, Maile Meyer has been championing Native Hawaiian creators long before Nā Mea Hawai‘i first opened in 1996. Fans of the Ward store appreciate her eye—well-honed thanks to an extensive art education (Meyer studied studio arts, typography and photography on her way to a master’s degree in arts management)—for items that are truly special and unique.


Na Mea Hawaii store interior woman holding book bookcase

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


But more than that, they know that behind the scenes Meyer is working feverishly to foster the growth of rising Native Hawaiian makers, offering support and guidance in everything from manufacturing and accounting to scaling up responsibly, and realigning value systems along the way.


“People want less things and more value in their gift-giving and in their own belongings,” Meyer explains, and they prefer the dynamic where “someone has made something that they’re very proud of that’s real and authentic, and someone values what was made for them. There’s something about that exchange, that keeps the human element really in it, that I find very, very gratifying.”


Ward Village, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 270, (808) 596-8885,, @na_mea_hawaii



Maile’s Picks:



Hobbs Tea Company boxes of tea

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Into the Brew

Hobbs Tea Co. organic, small-batch teas are from a husband-and-wife duo who grow their tea on the slopes of Kīlauea volcano.” $18.95 each.



Ka Pua Ui Designs folded yellow scarves

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Wrap Stars

“Pua Medina, of Ka Pua U‘i Designs, has great fashion sense and her small-batch scarves focus on comfort and flow. Recently, she collaborated with artist Harinani Orme on hand-screened wraps.” $56 each.



trucker cap fabric patches

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino



Good Impression 

Nakui Studio patches feature Hawaiian flora and fauna and are made with hand-carved stamps by a local scientist-conservationist. Botanical patch, $5.95, shell patch, $5.95, cap with fish patch, $42. 



A Maui Day black zip-top bags leaf pattern flower pattern

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Clutch Moment

“From a family of creatives, A Maui Day’s elegant purses are screened and sewn by hand on Maui.” $46 each.



Kanaka Prints Notepads with leaf patterns flower patterns

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Good On Paper

“Roy Machado has been creating his Kanaka Prints notepads with mostly native plants for years—they’re a perennial favorite.” $4.95 each.




Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino


Check Please

“We love Kahui Palaka bucket hats for littles and their parents, created by son-and-mother team Max and Dawn Mukai, and born during the pandemic.” $58 each.



Konane On The Go travel game pieces

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino



Play Favorites 

Aloha ‘aina workers at Ho’oulu ‘Aina, in the back of Kalihi valley, have created Konane on the Go sets with a printed board, game pebbles and a drawstring pouch, $26.95.