Maui News

Hawaiian Canoe Club Announces Award, Scholarship Recipients

July 26, 2019, 11:22 AM HST
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Hawaiian Canoe Club presented three awards and two scholarships at its annual ʻAha ʻĀina Dinner and Show on Sunday at the King Kamehameha Golf Club’s Waikapū Ballroom. About 300 club members, parents, politicians, sponsors and supporters were in attendance.

Picture: (L to R) McKenna Kanekoa and Joshua Kailiehu, winners of the Hawaiian Canoe Club Lake ʻOhana Scholarship. Photo credit Hawaiian Canoe Club.

HCC Board President Dave Ward was honored with the Marco Kawaiaea Naʻau Haʻahaʻa Award. Ward is the longest-serving president of Hawaiian Canoe Club, leading the organization to success both on and off the water. During his tenure, HCC has grown its canoe fleet by 30 percent, constructed the largest traditional Hawaiian hale in the state, and served hundreds of Maui keiki through the Kamaliʻi Program. Club representatives say Ward “is known to be a clear communicator and problem solver.”

Kelsey Naeʻole was awarded the Emalia Brown Guard Naʻau Haʻahaʻa Award. Naeʻole was a keiki paddler for Hawaiian Canoe Club and is a member of the board and also now leads the Open Women program as a steerswoman and assistant coach. “Naeʻole is known as a fierce competitor who has grown as a leader of HCC,” club representatives said. She has served on the HCC board of directors since 2010 and is the current Vice-President. “Fellow paddlers have long admired her personal qualities of patience, sacrifice and integrity,” according to club leaders.

Donna Neuhart received the Kahiau Award AS for the club’s most outstanding volunteer in 2019. Neuhart led a group of dedicated volunteers to start and provide outrigger canoe tours for cruise line passengers at Kahului Harbor. “She also takes initiative to complete odd jobs around the club such as painting, landscaping, maintaining equipment and cleaning,” said club representatives. “She was praised for her persistence, creativity and aloha.”

The Lake ʻOhana Scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded to McKenna Kanekoa and Joshua Kailiehu. In her scholarship application, Kanekoa wrote “I have been paddling for the past five years and I can say that being a member of Hawaiian Canoe Club has molded me into the person I am today. I have not only had the opportunity to travel and learn about my culture, but I have also learned life lessons that helped throughout high school and that will help me persevere in college.”


Kanekoa is a 2019 graduate of Kamehameha Schools Maui. She plans to attend the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in the fall to major in biology with the goal of becoming a doctor. Kanekoa’s grandfather, Ben Lake, is the brother of HCC founder John M. Lake.


Kailiehu is also a 2019 graduate of Kamehameha Schools Maui. In his application, Kailiehu wrote “I’ve been so blessed and fortunate to be part of an ʻohana so special as Hawaiian Canoe Club. From improving my physique and reinforcing my morals, to finally finding my connection to my culture, Hawaiian Canoe Club has shaped me into who I am today.”

This fall, Kailiehu plans to study civil engineering at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

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