The influence of Hawaiian history and values play a major role in our company culture. Even the name of our company is an ancient Hawaiian martial art. It’s important to us that this source of inspiration stays present through the day, and that we’re able to share it with the people who visit our office and come into contact with Lua. To accomplish this, we enlisted the help of Casey Opstad, a friend and expert muralist, to fill the office with images of ancient Hawaii. For those of you who won’t get the chance to see his work in person, take a journey through our murals and their meanings below.
The Journey Toward Oahu
In May 1795, King Kamehameha I’s troops set off for the island of O’ahu, aiming to unify the Hawaiian islands under one rule. As depicted in our mural, their approach toward the island carries great significance. It preceded one of the most important battles in Hawaiian history, known as the Battle of Nu’uanu. The battle began as soon as Kamehameha’s troops landed on the shore of O’ahu and raged for days. Using the Hawaiian martial art called Lua, Kamehameha’s army outmaneuvered the enemy, eventually forcing the troops of O’ahu to retreat toward a dead-end overlooking a 1,000 foot drop. Over 400 O’ahu warriors jumped or were pushed off the cliff and Kamehameha was victorious, leaving just the island of Kauai outside of his control.
Kamehameha I’s father, was the 25th king of Maui. He was named after the Hawaiian god of thunder, who was believed to be black on one side. Because of this, Kahekili tattooed one side of his body completely black from head to foot. He was the last independent king of Maui, and during his he reign, he conquered and ruled over every island in the chain but the Big Island. In the early days of Kamehahema I’s campaign, he faced his father on the battlefield. After Kahekili II passed, his son continued his legacy. Kamehameha I officially united the island chain for the first time in history and created the Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1810.
Our last mural is a totem of the Hawaiian god Ku. His significance is complex. Both the god of prosperity and the much-feared god of war, it is said that Kamehameha prayed to Ku and received guidance from him on his campaign to unite the Hawaiian islands. Ku is “The Terrifying God” and “The Benevolent Face,” demanding human sacrifice while also guiding fisherman to their next catch.
Below the totem is Ku’s full name: “Ku-ka-ili-moku.”