My name is Kali and I have been making ancient hawaiian fishhooks for the past 25 years. My hooks have been sold mainly on Oahu and Maui . They are made of bone (femur bone, from cows), koa, abalone and mother of pearl . My hooks are made to be worn around the neck as a way to represent my culture. Makau is the hawaiian word for fishhook and Ka Makau is the name given to a person who makes them, which is what I am. I have about four different sizes and about several shapes I use,which are all original to ancient times in old Hawaii. But i have also started to design some of my own style of hooks. I also designed my own style of wrap, which i call the kainoa wrap after my grand son.
The deep connection and reverence the Hawaiians had for the ocean created the meaning behind the Hawaiian fish hook necklace. The ocean which surrounded them was their source of food and their means of travel. Their jewelry and ornamentation was made of shells fished from the sea. They had navigated thousands of miles on uncharted high oceans, depending on their navigation by the stars and by listening to the language of the waves.
Known in Hawaiian as the makau, the fishhook pendant stands for everything that is good and promises it's wearer prosperity, strength and good luck.
In the early days of Polynesian settlement in Hawaii, the ancient fishermen created fishhooks out of every available material they could find. Using tools and files made from coral and stone, they chipped and carved fishhooks out of whale and human bones, shell and wood and even from the teeth of dogs! The makau was used to catch fish in the open water and the fishermen had such fine fishing skills that they would use different hooks for different types of fish.
For larger, harder to catch prey like the big sharks, the fishermen would use hardy and strong fishhooks made from human and animal bones. Smaller fish required more delicate fishhooks which were generally carved from mother of pearl shell or the shell of the turtle.