Hamana Kalili (second from left) fishing at Laie Bay. From the journal of Thalia Butler. 1921.

Photograph courtesy of the Joseph F. Smith Library Archives and Special Collections, Brigham Young University Hawaii.

Hamana Kalili, Originator of the Shaka Sign

Hamana Kalili was a fisherman from Laie, a small Latter-day Saint village on the windward side Oahu, Hawaii. He was a prominent member of the community and is regarded as the originator of the so-called “shaka sign,” which is widely associated with Hawaii.

Kalili lived from 1882 to 1958. During his lifetime he saw Hawaii transformed from a sovereign kingdom to a U.S. territory to the 50th state in the union. He was a foreman in the building of the Laie temple, a friend to a diverse group of prominent people, and a local legend in his time.

The book Hamana Kalili: Originator of the Shaka Sign tells Hamana's life story through the words of people who knew him personally. It contains dozens of firsthand accounts of Kalili's exploits, as well as recollections of life on rural Oahu prior to the 1950s. The book also contains over 50 photographs obtained from personal collections and archives in Hawaii and the mainland. It is a work that should be of particular interest for those interested in Hawaiiana, surf culture and history, and Latter-day Saint history.

If you would like further information on the book, you can track upcoming news on Facebook and get more frequent updates on Twitter (@shakabook). You may also want to sign up for the occasional newsletter, which will feature photographs, stories, and news about the book's upcoming release.

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