Voyaging Veterans to Speak on Canoe Construction
Five veteran crew members of the voyaging canoe Hokule`a – including two captains – will speak next week on the subject of traditional construction of canoes, also known as wa`a.
“A Mau Loa – The Continued Legacy of the Wa`a” will be presented from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, at Wentworth 1 at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, in the Keauhou Ballroom III at the Sheraton Keauhou Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay.
The presentations are the latest lectures in the Eia Hawai`i and Puana Ka `Ike series held in Hilo and Kona. Both are free and open to the public.
Following the launch of Hokule`a, crew members looking to investigate traditional construction of Hawaiian canoes formed Na Kalai Wa`a, an organization focused on creating single-hulled canoes out of native resources.
With the assistance of kupuna, or elders, from the state Department of Education’s kupuna program, Na Kalai Wa`a developed the first voyaging and wa`a program curricula using traditional methods, tools, customs and rituals.
The result was the building of the traditional coastal sailing canoe Mauloa and voyaging canoe Makali`i.
For many years, the Bertelmann family home in Waimea was the main hub for Na Kalai Wa`a.
Aunty Deedee Bertelman, a former crew member of both the Hokule`a and Makali`i, has had numerous prominent roles in the group’s operations. She is currently a kumu (teacher) at Kanu o ka `Aina where she teaches about the foundations of Hawai`I and shares her voyaging and wa`a curricula.
She and Shorty Bertelmann will be among those participating in the lectures.
Shorty Bertelmann, a captain for the Hokule`a and navigator for Makali`i, is vice president of Na Kalaai Wa`a and a mentor for Kuikawa`a, the organization’s apprenticeship program.
Others taking part in the lectures include:
- Tava Taupu, a master carver of ki`i or wooden images, who has been a crew member for many Hokule`a voyages. Taupu, a native of the Marquesas Islands who came to Hawaii via Tahiti, has carved ki`i on Oahu and at Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park in Kona, where he has also maintained the park’s canoes.
- Maulili Dickson, a member of the crew for the maiden voyages of both the Hokule`a and Makali`i. Dickson, who was born on Oahu and lived in Waimea for 30 years, is a founding member of Na Kalai Wa`a and serves as a captain for its vessels and programs.
- Chadd Paishon, a master navigator who has captained both the Hokule`a and Makali`i. Originally from Oahu, Paishon serves as a senior captain for Na Kalai Wa`a.
The lectures are sponsored by Keauhou-Kahalu‘u Education Group, Kamehameha Schools, The Kohala Center, and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Kipuka Native Hawaiian Student Center.
For more information on this presentation, contact Joy Cunefare at (808) 322-5340 or e-mail [email protected]. For lecture schedules, visit http://kohalacenter.org/puanakaike/about.html. Webcasts of previous lectures are available at http://keauhouresort.com/learn-puanakaike.html.