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  • Blessing Marks Completion Of Repairs To Treasured Kualoa Wa‘a Kaulua

Blessing marks completion of repairs to treasured Kualoa wa‘a kaulua

Hawaiian sailing and paddling canoes to continue teaching keiki, community ocean-going traditions

O‘AHU – Refurbishing cherished public resources while perpetuating the Native Hawaiian voyaging culture. The Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) was proud to be joined by Liko Hoe & the Hoe ‘Ohana, State Senator Brenton Awa, Kualoa Regional Park staff, Mānoa Summer Fun keiki, Kustom Vessels LLC staff, and other members of the Hakipu‘u voyaging community to bless three renovated wa‘a kaulua (double-hulled canoe) as part of the park’s ocean recreation and education programming.

Following heavy use during last year’s Summer Fun Program, Kualoa’s 40’ Hawaiian sailing and two 14’ paddling wa‘a kaulua were in dire need of repair. Though the estimated 25-year-old vessels needed assistance, staff wanted to ensure these treasured resources would be available to keiki and teens of DPR’s 2023 Summer Fun Program who venture out to Kualoa as one of the program’s most popular excursions.

As a result, Kualoa staff were joined by employees from Kustom Vessels LLC to take on the initiative of completely refurbishing the wa‘a kaulua. This involved disassembling the vessels; restoring the sailing deck and mast; gel coating, sanding, and painting the interior and exterior of all four fiberglass hulls, and reassembling the wa‘a. Staff estimate these efforts saved the City thousands of dollars, while completing the tasks quickly. Just in time for summer!

“I am so proud of our team out here in Kualoa, and the amazing effort they and the supporting community put into caring for these navigational and cultural resources,” said William Gardner, DPR Acting Park Manager at Kualoa Regional Park. “It was no small task getting these wa‘a kaulua back in working order, and we are excited to take thousands of keiki from our Summer Fun Program into these historic waters to keep the ocean-going traditions of the kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiians) alive and thriving.”

Today, their hard work was recognized and Native Hawaiian protocols observed as a blessing from Liko Hoe and DPR staff welcomed the wa‘a kaulua back into the Windward waters. Though the ceremony predominantly saw sunny skies, a quick downpour fell precisely as Liko blessed the vessels with wai (water) and pa‘akai (salt), following an opening pule (prayer). Then it was time for the keiki to enjoy their Kualoa excursion, taking turns with voyages aboard the three vessels. The Hawaiian sailing wa‘a holds about 20 keiki and staff, while the paddling wa‘a can hold about eight each.  

One of DPR’s larger and culturally significant park locations, the over 153-acre Kualoa Regional Park hosts two campgrounds, one of DPR’s designated ocean recreation sites, and the annual Kualoa/Hakipu‘u Wa‘a Festival. For over a decade, this festival has sought to highlight and continue Hawai‘i’s oceangoing traditions, with the area remaining an important part of Hawai‘i’s voyaging history. The festival is frequently blessed with a visit from the Hōkūleʻa and numerous other voyaging organizations and their vessels, such as the Kānehūnāmoku. The event also serves as a birthday celebration for the Hōkūleʻa, commemorating her initial launch from the sacred shores of Kualoa/Hakipuʻu in Kāneʻohe Bay, Oʻahu, on March 8, 1975.

To request auxiliary aids or services, accommodations due to a disability, or an interpreter for a language other than English in reference to this announcement, please contact the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation at (808) 768-3003 on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email 
parks@honolulu.gov at least three business days before the scheduled event. Please note that we may not be able to fulfill requests without sufficient advance notice.

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