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The Shaka

      One of the more visible and vibrant part of the hukilau was a man named Hamana Kalili. When the Hawaiian royal court was presented each time, Hamana was there to do his best presentation of King Kamehameha. The entire royal court was presented, including all the princesses and princes for each island, but the most memorable image was Hamana.

      Hamana was also known as the father of the shaka sign. He had lost his three middle fingers on one of this hands. When he waved to people, he held up the hand that only had a thumb and a pinky finger. The wave caught on, and the rest is history.

      How he lost the fingers is the subject of much speculation. One story suggests they were bitten off by a shark that was interested in the fish Hamana held while fishing underwater. Another rumor proposes that the fingers were blown off while he was fishing the easy way - with dynamite. Lastly, a more down-to-earth theory is that the fingers were amputated in a sugar mill accident.

      Just as these stories live on, so does the shaka sign - a homegrown symbol of Laie’s famous hukilau festivals.

      Find out more about Hamana Kalili and the shaka sign by visiting The Hukilau Store in the Polynesian Cultural Center's Hukilau Theater.