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See ‘Ka‘ilila‘au’s Canoe: A Journey of Spirit’ on Christmas

By Staff | Dec 23, 2010

The canoe serves as an educational vessel at Kaanapali Beach Hotel.

KAANAPALI — “Emme’s Island Moments” in a Christmas special will tell the story of a family, a canoe and the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, which helped make a young boy’s dream come true.

The story of Ka’ilila’au, the canoe that was inspired by employees of Kaanapali Beach Hotel and a young boy’s dream, will be featured in “Emme’s Island Moments” Holiday Special, “Ka’ilila’au’s Canoe: A Journey of Spirit.”

The one-hour program will air Christmas Day, Dec. 25, at 6 p.m. on KGMB.

The 32-foot, four-man canoe was built from a 100-foot tree found by hotel employees who wanted to build a traditional Hawaiian sailing vessel as part of “Po’okela,” the hotel’s award-winning cultural enrichment program.

The employees discovered the ideal tree growing deep inside Honokohau Valley by the home of Kimo and Leimaile Lindsey.

The Lindseys agreed to donate the tree with the simple request that the canoe be named after their oldest child, Ka’ilila’au, who died in an accident seven years ago at the age of 11.

Kaanapali Beach Hotel employees cut down the tree last November, blessed the log with Makahiki rituals and built it in four months with the help of canoe builder Charlie Nolan.

In March, Ka’ilila’au celebrated its first launch. In July, the canoe took Ka’ilila’au’s ashes out to sea accompanied by his family and friends who came to bid him farewell.

The canoe is now being used as an educational vessel for employees and visitors at Kaanapali Beach Hotel.

“Building a Hawaiian sailing canoe has been a wonderful opportunity for our employees to connect in a real sense to our host culture,” said Mike White, Kaanapali Beach Hotel general manager.

“This is the best way we can share Hawaiian values and traditions with our visitors and guests.”

“I’ve learned so much from this family and from the employees who really put their hearts and souls into building the canoe,” said show Producer/writer Emme Tomimbang.

“It’s a real privilege to be able to share this true island moment first on Thanksgiving and now on Christmas Day.”

“Ka’ilila’au’s Canoe: A Journey of Spirit” is brought to you in part by Stanford Carr Development and Kaanapali Beach Hotel.