The Kukui Nut tree or Candlenut tree was first brought over to Hawaii by the Polynesians in their canoes. Once used by Royal Chiefs and the Ali’i in Hawaii, the Kukui Nut played an important role in Hawaiian culture and lifestyle.
Ancient Hawaiians used the Kukui Nuts for multi-functional purposes. The wood produced by these trees was used to make canoes out of them. The natural dye from the nuts was used for paint or as a natural dye for tattoo ink. They also used this form of paint to paint on the traditional Hawaiian Tapa cloths.
The Hawaiian Kukui Nut oil can be used in multiple ways as well. It can be used topically for muscle aches, burns, and soothing the skin. The natural oil it produced was also used to coat fishermen’s nets or to illuminate candle pods. The Kukui Nut oil “Inamona” is used to season Poke, which is freshly caught fish cubed and tossed with multiple seasonings. Poke is a dish served in many traditional luaus and events.
If you have ever visited Hawaii for the first time or attended any traditional Hawaiian luau or event, you will most likely be greeted with one of these beautiful leis. Leis are used for welcoming, congratulating, or thanking a special person in your life. Each Kukui Nut is sanded, buffed, and polished in black or brown color. Each Kukui Nut can be hand-painted with a unique Hawaii design. The Kukui Nuts are put together using ribbon and a green wire and sewn into a lei or a bracelet. These Kukui Nut Leis can represent protection, peace, and wisdom. It will be a unique Hawaii souvenir that can last for years to come.