East Hawaii News

New HVNP Video: Delve Into The Art of Gourd Drums

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A new episode in a video series created and hosted by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park rangers invites everyone to learn about the single gourd drum used in hula.

The episode dives into the art of ipu heke ʻole with gourd master Kalim Smith. In “Ipu Heke ʻOle,” park ranger Sean Hoʻolaʻi Miday travels to Keauhou and crafts an ipu heke ʻole with Smith, who reveals the passion he has for growing and shaping the gourds, from hand pollinating the plants to constructing trellises so they grow perfectly shaped before they are harvested.

Screenshot from video

The rhythmic beat of the ipu heke ‘ole reverberates in the background as Miday and Smith are engulfed in the process of the uniquely Hawaiian art. The bond between the artist and his gourd drum resonates throughout the episode, and the viewer finishes with a deeper appreciation of ipu heke ‘ole and the labor of love poured into each instrument.


The purpose of the new video series, “ʻIke Hana Noʻeau,” or “Experience the Skillful Work,” is to share Hawaiian culture beyond the park to homes and classrooms anywhere. The short documentary films offer a connection to traditional Hawaiian lifestyle practices.

The series is shared on the park website and YouTube pages. Big Island Television, which airs in more than 6,000 hotel rooms on the Big Island and on Spectrum channel 130, also broadcasts the videos.

The videos a produced by a team that includes of park rangers Keoni Kaholoʻaʻā, Miday, Daniel Anekelea Hübner and Lanihuli Kanahele. The hui members are kānaka maoli who are passionate about the perpetuation and sharing of their culture through the use of media.


Each video is about 20 minutes long, and all are accessible with audio description, closed captions and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi translation.

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