homepage logo

Vierra leaves a cultural legacy

By Staff | Oct 31, 2019

Walter Paul Vierra passed away on Sept. 17. A Celebration of Life was held on Oct. 20 at Hanakao‘o Beach Park.

He was a rising son of Lahaina who manifested the love and warmth of the West Side. Walter Paul Vierra passed away last month at the age of 52, leaving behind a legacy of cultural and community integrity that will live on as a continuing memorial to him.

Born and raised in Lahaina, Vierra spent much of his time along the shoreline, particularly at Hanakao’o Beach Park, aptly named “Canoe Beach,” as the home for the three outrigger canoe clubs of the West Side. He attended the local public schools and graduated from Lahainaluna High School in 1985, where he played football for the Lunas and earned academic honors.

He attended the University of Oregon, where he earned degrees in finance and accounting, and then the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law to earn a law degree in 1998. Vierra then returned to his beloved Maui to set up his law practice but, moreover, to begin his deepest passion to malama the culture of the Hawaiian canoe.

Back to his home shoreline at Canoe Beach, he paddled with Napili Canoe Club, became the president of that organization, then the Maui County Hawaiian Canoe Association, and on to the top spot with the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association. He will be remembered throughout the state as a kind and highly intelligent leader of the revered culture of the outrigger canoe. A fleet of canoes from all across the island honored him with a scattering of ashes and flowers last week.

Vierra was also a leader with the Lahainaluna High School Foundation, LahainaTown Action Committee and the Wo Hing Society of Lahaina.

His parents, Gertrude and Anthony Vierra; and siblings Anthony Alan Vierra and Ann Gertrude Vierra, preceded him in leaving this world to God’s Kingdom. He is survived by his brother, Kerwin (Sue) Vierra; sisters Jo-Ellen Vierra, Rosie Vierra and Trudi Green. Also, many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, in-laws and friends survive him.

In Walter Vierra’s later years, it was learned that he suffered from the dark cloud of depression. “We know he is at rest now and we would like to thank all of you that helped and supported him,” read the statement from his family.

The Lahaina community sends its condolences and aloha to the Vierra Family. May the Lord’s Peace be with you always.