Kaua‘i’s Na Mahoe Voyaging Canoe

Dennis Chun (top left) with Japanese students including Chie Shiyama, Miyako Yamamoto, Menae Maeba, Maki Ota, Yutarou Ishida, Naoki Oshima, Yoji Nakai, Ryunosuke Tabata, Atsunori Nohara and Tomoki Uehira, teacher Tomoki Uku and coordinator Kyoko Ikeda

Hau’oli la hanau, Hokule’a!

As this month marks the 36th birthday of Hokule’a, Hawaii’s own voyaging canoe, it seemed perfect timing to write about one of her sailors, canoe builder John Kruse, in homage to the legacy she’s carried around the world.

On March 8, 1975, Hokule’a launched for the first time from Kualoa, Oahu. The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” proved very much to be the case after Kruse recently gave me some 1,300 images of Hokule’a’s voyages. Going through them was heartening and inspirational – as well as a little intimidating, especially as I wanted to truly honor the tales I’d been told – and I only had a roughly two-page puka to fill.

Talking story with Kruse wasn’t only edifying and awe-inspiring in terms of learning some of the courageous, proud and compelling tales surrounding Hokule’a. It was particularly moving in that it further educated me about a history with which I’m inexorably linked, including learning about the voyages of my father-in-law, the late Dr.

Patrick Aiu. Unfortunately I never got to meet him, but his legacy, especially with the recent birth of my son – and with the near
completion of Na Mahoe (which Aiu named) – lives on.

Dennis Chun teaches Japanese students

Nearly two decades after Aiu, Kruse, Dennis Chun and Marshall Mock decided Kaua’i needed a traditional sailing vessel of its own (the Hokule’a primarily sails out of Oahu, making few stopovers on Kaua’i), Na Mahoe awaits the day her destiny will come into fruition, and will likely have a history as full of memories, history and tradition as her mother, Hokule’a …

And the tradition of sailing canoes and education continues as Chun and Mock educated Japanese students who visited Kaua’i to learn on the Na Mahoe earlier this month. The students return to Kaua’i March 23 following maritime training on the Big Island’s Makali’i. E komo mai to the students, Chie Shiyama, Miyako Yamamoto, Menae Maeba, Maki Ota, Yutarou Ishida, Naoki Oshima, Yoji Nakai, Ryunosuke Tabata, Atsunori Nohara and Tomoki Uehira, visiting from Toyama and Toba national colleges of maritime technology. Kudos to the group’s teacher Tomoki Uku, and coordinator Kyoko Ikeda (who happened to have met my husband in 2007 when he sailed on Hokule’a in Japan), with special thanks to Chun, who was a good sport and taught me and the other students the technique for lashing the canoe, including how to get better leverage …

The Mini Company from Aloha Dance Studio with Miss Island Mokihana Daphne Sanchez

Speaking of canoes: So sorry to hear of the passing of Big Island artist/historian Herb Kane, who helped design Hokule’a. His work will live forever …

And kudos to the folks at the Jam Room, including film commissioner Art Umezu and Miss Island Mokihana Daphne Sanchez, who made this month’s “Secret Grab Bag” fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network a success, with all bags sold. The next big event at the Jam Room is the “Colors of Hope Spring Jam Festival,” featuring Kaua’i’s top young musicians and dancers, slated for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at Kukui Grove Center, presented by Musique International (creator of The Jam Room) and hosted by Daphne Sanchez and The Jam Crew. The event is free and open to the public …

Given that today the plastic bag ban bill goes to committee, I thought it might be appropriate to not only remind residents to think about our reliance on convenience, but to consider whether this bill gets to the heart of its intentions.

Much like some had pointed out at the recent County Council meeting where this topic was the hot-button issue du jour, I was pleased it was deferred until today’s (Wednesday) meeting so that we’d have a chance to iron out the flaws in the ban rather than scrapping the idea altogether. County Councilman Mel Rapozo, who received far more e-mails in opposition of the ban than in support, says the petition in support of the amendment that was submitted had more than 1,600 signatures. …

Recently, when bringing home takeout for my family from one of my favorite restaurants, I wouldn’t have minded the several trips from the carport to the kitchen unloading the six or so boxes if it meant I was helping the environment by not using plastic bags. But the food’s packaging – Styrofoam containers – was contributing to a considerable amount of waste, filling nearly an entire garbage bag. It made me wonder why we can’t scrap the use of Styrofoam, too, and use recyclable, biodegradable containers instead. Readers feeling compelled either way, especially those who might not have the luxury of missing work to testify, can e-mail their opinion on the matter to counciltestimony@kauai.gov …

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