By Katherine Smith
Now that masts are set, the next step is to slowly roll Hawaii’s newest open ocean sailing canoe, Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani, 1.4 miles up Front Street to Mala Wharf in the wee hours of July 7th. Late Sunday, the public was invited to gather at Hui o Wa’a Kaulua, 525 Front Street, to observe Hawaiian canoe protocol provided by Ke’eaumoku Kapu and Nā ‘Aikane o Maui. Then at Midnight, people were allowed to follow the canoe in a procession to Mala Wharf. At Mala, the canoe kapu until launch, Friday July 11.
Launch Day festivities begin at Noon on the 11th. These include commemorative addresses by Kupuna, Governor Neil Abercrombie, Mayor Alan Arakawa and West Maui State and County Officials. Hui o Wa’a Kaulua will acknowledge the many donors who stood by them in this huge endeavor. Kumu Keli’i Tau’a and Kahu Lyons Naone will preside over a formal Hawaiian Canoe Launch Ceremony that prepares this living canoe for entry to the sea.
July 11 was selected because it falls on the Akua Moon of the Hawaiian Moon Calendar, and highest tide of the month, which occurs at 3:53 PM. Canoe clubs from all around Maui will be at Mala to tow their sister, Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani, into the ‘Au’au Channel.
“I want to take Mo’okiha north and circle around in front of Canoe Beach and then head south back to our mooring off Pākalā Beach (Kamehameha Iki Park, 525 Front Street, Lāhainā),” said Captain Timi Gilliom. If there is wind, we’ll sail–if not, an escort boat will tow us.”
After the launch, at 5 PM on the 11th, the Maui community is invited to join Hui o Wa’a Kaulua at 525 Front Street for a ho’olaule’a celebration of fun, food, and music.