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Hawaiian Canoe-Building Traditions

By Naomi N. Y. Chun

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Book Id: WPLBN0002096803
Format Type: Default
File Size: 2 MB
Reproduction Date: 3/8/2011

Title: Hawaiian Canoe-Building Traditions  
Author: Naomi N. Y. Chun
Language: English
Subject: Non Fiction, History of the Americas (Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, etc.), Hawaiian Culture and Traditions
Collections: Education, Special Collection Scholastic History, Authors Community, Recreation, Sociology, Naval Science, Fine Arts, Military Science, Literature, Favorites in India, Most Popular Books in China, History, Social Sciences
Publication Date:
Publisher: Kamehameha Schools Press
Member Page: Hale Kuamo╩╗o Hawaiian Language Center


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Y. Chu, N. N. (1995). Hawaiian Canoe-Building Traditions. Retrieved from

Among the outstanding achievements of the Hawaiian people was their skill in building a wide variety of efficient and well-crafted canoes. Distinguished scholar Dr. Donald D. Kilolani Mitchell cites the Hawaiian canoe as being a "cultural peak" in the history of Hawaii. Hawaiian Canoe-Building Traditions was created to highlight this particular "cultural peak." Canoe building was, and remains, a proud art in Hawaii. This combination textbook/workbook emphasizes the steps followed in the construction of an ancient canoe, includes a chapter on types of canoes, and ends with a section on contemporary Hawaiian sailing canoes. Hawaiian Canoe-Building Traditions was designed for use within the broader fields of "Hawaiian Studies" and "Ocean Studies." Hawaii's children should always be encouraged to learn more about the place in which they live. And surrounded by the largest ocean in the world as they are, their curriculum should include a unit on seafaring in Hawaii and the Pacific. The Resource and Development Component of the Hawaiian Studies Institute wishes to thank Dr. Mitchell for his encouragement and never-ending good will; Robin Y. Burningham for her beautiful illustrations and graphic expertise; Fred Cachola, Keoni Du Pont, Keala Kwan, Maxine Nuuhiwa, Gordon Piianaia, Holoua Slender, and Julie Williams for reviewing the draft and providing helpful suggestions; Dennis Kawaharada for updating the section on contemporary Hawaiian sailing canoes; and the entire staff of the Hawaiian Studies Institute for their support in completing this project.

The waa, or the canoe, played a very important role in Hawaii's history and traditional lifestyle. When the early settlers migrated from Kahiki to Hawaii, they journeyed by double-hulled canoes (waa kaulua). Upon their arrival, they continued to build and use canoes for work, travel, and play. Having found an abundance of very tall and large koa trees (scientific name: Acacia koa) in the islands, the settlers began the practice of making canoes from single, hollowed-out logs. The resultant "dugout" canoes were distinctly different from the plank-lashed canoes that had carried them from Kahiki. The Hawaiians constructed canoes of various designs and sizes. The design and size of a canoe depended upon its use. Smaller canoes were used for fishing and for traveling around the island. Larger canoes were used for distant trips to other islands. Oftentimes, it was easier to travel by sea than by land. Certain canoes were used in times of war. Others were used for sports and recreation. From the selection and the felling of a tree, to the hewing, hauling, finishing, and the launching of the finished canoe, the making of a waa was an enormous task. Whether it was a double-hulled canoe or a single-hulled canoe (waa kaukahi), much work and ceremony was involved. You are now invited to take a journey through the life of a waa. Along the way, you will learn more about Hawaiian canoes and the industrious people who made and used them. Finally, come sail on the Hokulea, a modern-day Polynesian voyaging canoe!

Table of Contents
Preface. v -- Introduction. 1 -- Selection. 3 -- Felling. 9 -- Hewing. 15 -- Hauling. 19 -- Finishing. 25 -- Consecration and Launching. 33 -- Tools. 39 -- Parts of a Canoe. 47 -- Types of Canoes. 57 -- Contemporary Hawaiian Sailing Canoes. 63 -- Summary. 83 -- Suggested Reading List. 85 -- Suggested Audio-Visual Resources. 86 -- Additional Resources. 86 --


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