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Canoe Blessings: The Birth of New Canoe

May 16, 2013
Jonica Hall - Contributing Writer , Maui Weekly

Maui Canoe Club has the great fortune of the addition of a brand new member to our club--Pu'ukani (sweet voice), our newest Bradley Lightning canoe. Canoes are thought of as members of the club and are given blessings that celebrate their "birth" and welcoming into our paddling 'ohana.

This ceremony is derived from the rich and ancient traditions of the Hawaiian culture, with many protocols and rituals still respected and practiced today. Until a little over a hundred years ago, the outrigger canoe (wa'a), was at the center of the Hawaiian culture because it provided access to food, news from distance lands, defense and recreation.

A well-built wa'a was held in high regard since it was also responsible for returning men, women and children home safely from ke kai (the sea).

Article Photos

Maui Canoe Club welcomes a new member--Pu‘ukani, a new canoe.
Photo: Jonica Hall

Just as important was the inoa (name) given to the wa'a. The same careful consideration you would give to naming a child was also given to naming a wa'a.

During the blessing we thank Aku (God), na aumakua (the ancestors), and Kanaloa, the demigod of ke kai, for allowing us to paddle our wa'a on his skin.

Maui Canoe Club welcomes guest paddlers Monday through Friday for our 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. canoe outings. Please show up at least 15 minutes in advance. For more information, please visit



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