Today, we focus on lei making, it’s immediate association with Aloha, and the bona fide importance it has in our island’s culture. For those who visit our islands, it’s the very first thing many see when they arrive at Honolulu International Airport. You’re normally greeted with a lei and a heavy dose of Aloha. It’s the same when leaving the island, and 9 times out of 10, you’re leaving with a smile and sense of tranquility. Aunty Dora is one of the many lei fabricators still stringing together Aloha, and has been for the past 74 years.
[FITTED] What is your name, what do you do and how are you preserving our culture?
[Dora] Dora, I’m 88 years old and I make leis. I’ve been selling leis since I was 14 at the Aloha Tower; from there we had a lei stand at the Keehi [Lagoon] Park. Then they moved us inside the airport and now we are here.
[F] How do you define Aloha, and why does it play such an important role?
[D] Aloha means a lot of things, usually Hello, Goodbye and Love.
[F] What is your favorite thing about living in Hawaii (restaurants, shopping, bars, recreational activities)?
[D] Oh! I’ve been here my whole life! I just stay here at the lei stand now. I like the weather.
[F] When you think of Hawaii, what song comes to mind?
[D] Beautiful Kauai
[F] Do you have any words of wisdom?
[D] “Lei making will never be replaced by machines, they’ve tried, but didn’t work.”