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Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani canoe launch postponed to early 2014

By Staff | Dec 12, 2013

The 62-foot long, 22-foot wide voyaging canoe is ready for the finished superstructure to be put in place.

LAHAINA – Kimokeo Kapahulehua and the Board of Directors of Hui o Wa’a Kaulua announced that the formal launch of the Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani voyaging canoe is officially postponed until after the holidays.

“Holiday shipping schedules prevent us from procuring materials and equipment to meet our December 21 launch goal,” said Kapahulehua.

“Canoe builders from Oahu, Hawaii and Tahiti are here this week helping us revise construction schedules and select a new launch date in early 2014.”

Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani was scheduled to launch on Dec. 21 at Mala Wharf.

Kapahulehua said that delays getting hardware, boat fittings and safety equipment frustrated volunteers.

“We raised money, bought materials, and volunteers are ready to work, but still have to do this right. It’s not our canoe; it’s Maui’s canoe. When the canoe is ready, she goes in the water, not before,” he commented.

“We are selecting a new target launch date based on a new construction schedule, moon phase, tide and anticipated swell conditions to ensure a safe launch,” said Kala Baybayan, navigator for Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani.

“As equipment arrives, we will be able to predict a new launch date. We hope to make an announcement on or before December 21st.”

The 62-foot long, 22-foot wide, double-hull, Hawaiian-style voyaging canoe is ready to move outside for the finished superstructure to be put in place. The hull has been painted.

Since the vessel is too large to clear the reef in front of Kamehameha Iki Park where the hui is based, a custom boat trailer will haul the canoe to Mala Wharf.

Work continues as materials arrive, including caulking, lashing, applying hardware, sanding and applying epoxy and lacquer finishes to masts and spars.

Volunteers may sign up online at huiowaa.org or at the dry dock at 525 Front St. next to Kamehameha Iki Park.

During the last six months, Hui o Wa’a Kaulua (Assembly of the Double-Hull Canoe) conducted 24 workshops for Maui schoolchildren, teaching traditional Polynesian voyaging and wayfinding methods.

They raised $50,000 to finish Maui’s own transoceanic voyaging canoe, a project that started 17 years ago.

This week, they begin a social media crowd funding campaign on IndeGOgo to raise another $10,000 to buy final emergency equipment for the canoe, as well as educational materials for the many workshops planned for 2014.

Kapahulehua said the Maui community has been very generous and supportive.

“Thousands of hands are in this project. We are grateful to everyone who has put their money, time, energy and aloha into Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani. We are there. This canoe will launch very soon. It is exciting and a great privilege to be involved at this time,” he concluded.