Culture, History, & Uses
Naio wood is called ʻaʻaka and the wood is yellowish in color.
"He naio kekahi lāʻau ʻala, he lāʻau paʻa ia."
- Davida Malo, Hawaiian historian
"The naio also is a sweet-scented wood and of great hardness."
Naio's history is intertwined with the history of
ʻiliahi (Hawaiian sandalwood).
ʻIliahi was extensively harvested and exploited during the international sandalwood trade in the late 18th century. As ʻiliahi became more rare, naio was being falsely declared as ʻiliahi since it also has a scented wood. Sandalwood importers could tell the difference between the scents and because of this history, naio received English common names with negative connotations.
Names have mana. Given naio's aroma, sweetwood is the more appropriate and positive English common name.
Let's give naio a new positive reference, sweetwood!
Naio can be distilled down to an essential oil. Naio essential oil has a unique, sweet scent.
Naio oil is different from, yet complementary to ʻiliahi essential oil.
Various parts of naio wood were used in hale construction, for shuttles in net making, spears, and other smaller tools. Naio wood is also used for woodworking.