Native Intelligence – Maui’s best shopping for Hawai’ian cultural gifts.
Shopping for and bringing home gifts and souvenirs for friends and family members is often one of the best parts of a vacation. Your vacation to Maui is no exception!
But when you’ve seen all the run of the mill t-shirts, hats, and plastic tchotchkes (made in China) the idea of bringing home gifts not made in the Hawai’ian islands can lose it’s appeal.
That’s when a visit to Native Intelligence will inspire you! Native Intelligence is filled to the brim with authentic Hawai’ian culture, local artisan crafted goods and authentic Hawai’ian souvenirs you will be proud to own. Located in the quaint town of Wailuku, this one of a kind shop offers clothing, stationary, jewelry
From the owner’s website:
“About Native Intelligence (NI)
Based in Wailuku, Maui – Native Intelligence is more than a traditional retail establishment. The goal of Native Intelligence is to champion cultural traditions, craftsmanship and good designs while perpetuating Hawaiian values. By showcasing local artisans and creatives who strive to protect and evolve the culture, Native Intelligence is an advocate for both culture and community.
Our mission is to create a retail environment allowing customers to experience a wide selection of merchandise that is Hawaiian by definition. Neither a museum nor gallery, Native Intelligence strives to be a constantly evolving retail space that has something for everyone.
Through the various practitioners who try to perfect ancient skills; to new businesses that reflect a contemporary sensibility, Native Intelligence will present the spectrum of what is good in Hawaiian design. Working with community leaders and neighborhood schools, we hope to extend the educational programs and resources beyond our doors. As our name infers, Native Intelligence encourages the efforts of those who exemplify the best and brightest in Hawaii and Polynesia.”
NI is more than just a store filled with unique and locally made gifts, it’s a treasure and source of culturally inspired supplies used by the local community. Items such as Hula supplies, Kapa and fresh flower leis like no others!
Be sure to check out their Ni’ihau shell necklaces. These are genuinely one of a kind pieces of art. If you’re not familiar with Ni’ihau shell jewelry then you are in for a treat. According to Ni’ihau Cultural Heritage Foundation’s website; “Legally, this term refers only to shells actually gathered on the shores of the Forbidden Island. However, the term generally refers to three different shells that are commonly used to make Ni‘ihau shell lei: kahelelani, momi, and lāiki, as well as a fourth one, kāmoa, which is frequently used to add contrasting color.” (p.s. you might have also recently seen actor and native Hawai’ian Jason Momoa wearing a Ni’ihau shell necklace during the week of his Aquaman premier – on the Jimmy Fallon show!)
I think my favorite purchase was this NI Designs Island Chain T-Shirt with the design in the form of a molecular structure. “Based off of a molecular structure, the design of “Island Chain” is united and bonded. Each island is unique, but Hawaiʻi is only Hawaiʻi when all the islands are connected. “All Hawaiʻi stand together.” -Mele by Liko Martin”
My other unique purchases include a gorgeous Koa wood hair stick and Breadfruit (or Ulu) block print note cards by Kanaka Prints. But there were so many wonderful items, it was hard to choose.
Visit The Store
Plan your visit to Native Intelligence while visiting Maui, but if you cannot, then be sure to visit their website. There you’ll find an assortment of items for sale as well as more information about their wonderful business. Wailuku is a sweet town in Maui that is worth strolling around. You’ll love getting out of the ‘busy’ towns of Kihei and Lahaina to enjoy the quieter life in Wailuku!
Address: 1980 Main St #2 Wailuku, HI 96793
Phone: (808) 249-2421
Store Hours: Monday-Friday: 10:00-5:00, Saturday: 10:00-4:00, Sunday: Closed