The Science and Culture of Art - Maui the Kitemaker

Lesson 8 - Capturing the Wind: Maui Makes a Kite


Although ancient Hawaiians made kites from their kapa, the kapa had to be a certain size and quality to become a good kite. Making kapa like this is not always possible within the constraints of class time. If you were able to make kapa with your students, discuss with them the work it took to make their kapa and to remind them of how important kapa was in Hawaiian culture, and that people who made kapa did it their entire lives. Student kapa work should be displayed in the classroom. Tell students that kites were another important part of Hawaiian culture and that they will make a simple kite in class using a regular piece of paper, a plastic bag, a straw or barbecue skewer, and some tape.



Maui used his kite to test the strength of the winds. Ancient Hawaiians and Polynesians used kites for play as well as sport, such as kite fighting. Long ago when there were no televisions or iPods, people made their own forms of entertainment out of the things that were close at hand and familiar.