Maui Arts & Entertainment

International Festival of Canoes Part 3: Francis Senenci Master Craftsman and Hale Builder

June 2, 2008, 2:50 PM HST
* Updated January 4, 9:01 PM
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One of the many cultural events that coincide with this year’s festival of canoes is the construction of three hale structures at the Banyan Tree Park in Lahaina. Host Wendy Osher speaks with master craftsman, Uncle Francis Senenci of Hana, who explains the art behind the tradition.

[flashvideo file= /] BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Hundreds of spectators gathered along Kamehameha Iki Beach Park in Lahaina over the weekend to witness the ceremonial Lunching of Canoes. Master carvers from around Polynesia spent the last two weeks shaping their canoes out of raw albesia logs as part of the annual International Festival of Canoes. It’s a celebration established to keep the Polynesian voyaging tradition alive. Before the launch, each vessel was connected by a ti leaf rope to a stake in the ground, symbolizing its umbilical connection with the land. The master carvers were then presented with a ceremonial adze with which to cut the chord and sever the canoe’s connection with the land. The canoes were set free, signifying a symbolic birthing of the canoes, and the complete transformation of the trees into a functional vessel. (Posted by Wendy Osher: Monday, June 02, 2008)

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