Not in the socio-political sense... Papale are literally like snowflakes. No two are exactly alike. One can try to make a copy of a certain papale, it is pretty much impossible to ulana two identical papale. The materials are actual natural plant materials prepared and ulana by human hands. Although skilled and experienced weavers can have consistent tension and technique, they are still human beings and not machines. Each papale is as unique as an individual snowflake. From far away, snowflakes look alike but magnified under a microscope each is incredibly unique.
A while back my FIL sent us a book called The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto. It's an informative quick read discussing the effects of emotional energy and water purity on the development of snowflakes. Gratitude and positive intention projected on the droplets of water developed into beautiful, symmetrical, and intricate snowflakes. Negative emotion and/or polluted water resulted in misshapen, deformed, and incomplete snowflakes. The book provided photographs of the snowflakes magnified through microscopes.
Papale lauhala are much like those snowflakes. When weaving, the weaver must be calm and in a good frame of mind. Being angry or upset will show in the tension in the lauhala. Breaking strands will be a problem. Your emotions go into your work. My first kumu papale, the late Aunty Gladys Grace, often said and was quoted in an interview “If your heart is good, clean, and your spirit is good, then you are able to learn to make a hat and make beautiful hats and your hat will look how beautiful you are... And if you don’t feel good, you’re angry with anybody or you’re not a pleasant person, your hat will show everything on it. So I teach them, weave with how you feel inside you and it makes you become a good person.”
So much energy goes into ulana. It's a meditative thing for me. Also like the computer adage, "garbage in, garbage out," I need to be a good frame of mind otherwise the weaving looks uneven, koana/strands break, and my frustration gets magnified.
My takeaway is, if you are at Merrie Monarch, or a craft fair, or a local business and you find a papale that looks good on you... BUY IT. Do not hesitate. Even if you think, "I will have one made just like it," JUST BUY IT.
For these reasons:
1) You will support the local weaver that is paying vendor's fees ("overhead") to be there for you;
2) You have the luxury and convenience of immediately having a papale that you already know you love and looks good on you;
3) You get the tactile experience of choosing your papale or being chosen by it;
4) A copy is still a copy and will not be exactly like the one you fell in love with.