Maui News

Long Awaited Launch of Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani to be Announced

June 13, 2013, 9:18 AM HST
* Updated June 13, 9:44 AM
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Photo Credit: Cadence Feeley, via Hui o Waʻa Kaulua.

Photo credit: Cadence Feeley, via Hui o Waʻa Kaulua.

By Wendy Osher

Leaders with the Hui o Waʻa Kaulua voyaging society on Maui will announce the planned launch date of Maui’s Polynesian voyaging canoe, the Moʻokiha o Piʻilani, during the upcoming Nā Kamehameha festivities and hoʻolauleʻa this Saturday.

The 62-foot double-hulled voyaging canoe has been under construction for the past 17 years at Kamehameha Iki Park in West Maui, but work to build the vessel actually began in the mid 1990s.

Construction gained momentum in recent years under guidance of the non-profit group Hui o Waʻa Kaulua.

The voyaging society says the Moʻokiha is now more than 90% complete.

Photo Credit: Cadence Feeley, via Hui o Waʻa Kaulua.

Photo credit: Cadence Feeley, via Hui o Waʻa Kaulua.


The Hui o Waʻa Kaulua is still hoping to raise $50,000 to complete work and obtain supplies for the canoe including: anchors, chain, line, sleeping canvas, and life jackets.


When complete, it will serve as a living classroom for the youth of Hawaiʻi, and the community of Maui.  There will be opportunities for enthusiasts to learn leadership values and cultural knowledge by working on and with the seafaring canoe and its crew.

Volunteers are welcome to provide daily work and rigging on the canoe. Elders are also sought to provide daily tours of the vessel.  The group is also seeking operators of escort vessels to donate time once a week for training.

Officials with the Hui say spaces may be open for committed volunteers to sail this summer. The organization is currently seeking 3-4 volunteers a day, 5 days a week, to help with launch preparations. Crew training sails are expected to take place on Saturdays or Sundays, and are weather and tide permitting.


The announcement regarding the planned launch is expected to be made at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 15.

This weekend’s hoʻolauleʻa, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will include canoe exhibits and canoe rides. According to the Hui o Waʻa Kaulua announcement, one of the food vendors, Pacific’O Restaurant, will donate proceeds from their sales towards the completion of Maui’s deep-sea voyaging canoe.

For more information on the organization and the construction progress, interested individuals can visit the website, stop by the office at 525 Front Street in Lahaina, call (808) 667-4050, or email [email protected]

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