Koa - or Acacia Koa - are the largest native tree in the Hawaiian Islands reaching heights of over 100 feet. Commercially, koa is one of the most expensive woods in the world, and a culturally treasured wood for the early Hawaiians, who used it to make canoes (waʻa). Hawaii‘s upland forests used to be home to abundant stands of Koa trees that provided habitat for many native species birds. The now extinct Koa-finch fed almost exclusively on green koa seed pods.
Sadly, the devastation of vulnerable plant and animal species in Hawaii is not limited to terrestrial creatures. Many marine creatures have also been affected by changing climates, pollution, and over hunting by humans. The green sea turtle - known in Hawaiian as Honu, are one such creature. Protection of these graceful, doe-eyed swimmers through the Endangered Species Act and the Hawaii state law, as well as recent efforts by humans to better understand and care for Honu and their habitats, have resulted in a soft rebound of their numbers.
An early morning encounter with Honu while paddling out for a surf is one of the best gifts we enjoy while living in Hawaii. In a small way, we share that with our Makana subscribers through these lovely Honu magnates, made from Koa wood scraps and designed by Nicole Ishida. Her line - Nai‘a designs - celebrates the beauty of Koa wood and of our island home, through unique, locally sourced and hand-produced Koa jewelry and gift pieces.