This 22" all-bronze statue with a solid marble base commemorates the father of the shaka. The original stands in the Hukilau Marketplace at the Polynesian Cultural Center where hundreds of thousands of visitors every year stop to take a picture with their own shaka sign held up high.
The PCC commissioned Leroy Transfield, a native Maori originally from New Zealand who worked here at the Center as a student and currently an award-winning artist, to create this sculpture.
Hamana's story. Kalili's family, some who still live in Laie, say the tall, powerfully-built Hawaiian waterman lost the first three fingers of his right hand in a nearby sugar mill accident.
After he was reassigned to the sugar cane railroad, he used the gesture to signal the train was ready to roll. Local kids, who would sometimes hook rides (and munch sugar cane), copied Kalili's distinctive wave.
Later, thousands of visitors who saw Kalili, acting as King Kamehameha, wave in the historic Laie Hukilau and gradually began to spread the gesture around the world.
The shaka has since gone global, spread by surfers, Hawaii residents, millions of visitors and even U.S. President Obama, who grew up in Honolulu.
The shaka sign can mean hello, "howzit" (how are you?). Okay? Okay. Good? Good. Hang loose, and more. With a little waggle, one person can signal another, asking if something's available ("get?"), but the same sign with a waggle in response means "no more."
Meet Hamana Kalili: Descendant of Hawaiian chiefs, a famous fisherman, a beloved community leader, and "father" of the shaka.