In 1978 the Hokule‘a set sail from Kualoa Beach on O‘ahu to “pull Tahiti out of the sea.”
On that voyage, the double-hulled sailing canoe pulled the wayfinding tradition out of Hawai‘i’s past and brought Hawai‘i’s greatest accomplishment back to her.
In her wake follows four new voyaging canoes, one to be completed on Kaua‘i: Na Mahoe.
Named by Dr. Patrick Aiu, “Na Mahoe,” meaning, “the twins,” references the constellation Gemini, which guided voyages between Kaua‘i and O‘ahu.
Voyaging canoes take a village to care for and Artist Leonora Orr joined that village with a fundraiser for Na Mahoe at Josselin’s Tapas Bar and Grill in Po‘ipu.
Orr agreed to donate 50 percent of the proceeds of her paintings to go to Na Kalai Wa‘a ‘O Kaua‘i (the canoe builders of Kaua‘i), the organization building Na Mahoe.
Jean Marie Josselin, owner of the Tapas Bar and Grill hosting the event, provided pupu including hamachi ceviche, chicken-liver pate and caprese.
Crewmembers of Na Mahoe were present, including Capt. Dennis Chun, Marshall Mock and Keith Taguma, all founding Na Kalai Wa‘a members.
“It’s been a long, hard road,” Chun said of Na Mahoe. “We cannot turn back. …We hope to get the canoe in the water in the next six months.”
Orr presented Chun with a ti-leaf lei to be given to Na Mahoe, and prints of her work to Noelani Josselin, who organized the event.
Orr found similarities in her art and Na Mahoe, noting, “When I look at the parallels of navigation and painting — it’s people having to deal with space. … Painting is like walking in space.”
The founders and crewmembers of Kaua‘i’s first voyaging canoe, Na Mahoe, are aiming to complete her construction by early 2011.