Niu Festival Raises Funds to Support Launch of Maui Canoe
By Wendy Osher
The 1st Annual Niu Festival got underway today at the Grand Wailea Resort in South Maui. The event is focused on the significance of the niu or coconut plant and it’s role in the rich voyaging traditions of the Polynesian people.
Proceeds from the two-day event will assist the non-profit Hui o Wa’a Kaulua in their efforts to complete and launch Maui’s only double-hulled Polynesian sailing canoe, the Mo’okiha O Pi’ilani, currently under construction in Lahaina.
Friday’s festivities included an opening awa ceremony, as well as a screening of the documentary film Papa Mau, The Wayfinder. The film’s director Na’alehu Anthony answered questions about the documentary and about its subject, the legendary Polynesian navigator, Mau Piailug.
The event continues at the lu’au grounds of the resort from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, with entertainment, local crafts, workshops, lectures, presentations, and a coconut cook-off.
The family friendly event features a cultural village where those in attendance are invited to learn from cultural practitioners the many traditional uses and byproducts of the coconut.
The event is produced by E Ola Pono, LLC, and is made possible through the cultural direction of the Hawaiian Cultural Advisory Council of the Grand Wailea Resort.