LAHAINA - After 16 years, Mo'okiha o Pi'ilani, a 62-foot replica of an ancient Polynesian voyaging canoe, is approaching its final phases of construction.
The Hui o Wa'a Kaulua is the non-profit charged with the crafting of the voyaging vessel.
"Despite insurmountable limitations of funding and labor, her mana (spiritual essence) has allowed her to endure test of time," the release reads.
"Currently in her fetal stages," the announcement continued, "the magnitude of her mana continues to grow, as she yearns to be birthed (launched), so that she may take her rightful place amongst the ranks of her voyaging siblings," including Hawai'iloa, Honolulu; Makali'i, Kawaihae; Hoku Alaka'i, Hilo; and Na Mahoe, Nawiliwili.
In honor of the Mo'okiha O Pi'ilani, the Hui is hosting the First Annual Wa'alaulea on Sunday, March 25 at Kamehameha Iki Beach Park at 505 Front Street.
The free event is to raise awareness and support the vessel's launch.
From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., a remarkable lineup of entertainment is planned. There will be performances by Ernie Cruz Jr., Eric Gilliom, Amy Hanaiali'i, Wilson Kanaka'ole, Kapali Keahi, Mondo Kane, Tava Nui, Dr. Nat and Rio Ritmo.
Additionally, there will be food, crafts, silent auction, door prizes, canoe rides and stargazing.
The Hui o Wa'a Kaulua was founded in 1975 to support the construction of a wa'a kaulua (double hull canoe). Its purpose is the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture through education of ancient Polynesian seafaring and voyaging traditions.
Its mission "is committed to developing and conducting model educational programs using voyaging to excite and challenge students and their communities to learn about, respect and care for the natural and social environment."
Eventually, the Mo'okiha o Pi'ilani will voyage across the Pacific to Tahiti.