VIDEO: Hawaiian Canoes Get Victory at Small Boat Harbors

June 28, 2013, 4:17 PM HST · Updated June 28, 5:32 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a bill into law today that requires the state to accommodate mooring of native Hawaiian canoes owned or leased by nonprofit entities and used for educational purposes in small boat harbors.

“One of the issues that’s associated with the small boat harbors that not everybody thinks of right away, has to do with something that is unique and particular to Hawaiʻi–which is the mooring of native Hawaiian canoes,” said Gov. Abercrombie during the bill signing ceremony on Maui.

Virtually all of the Hawaiian canoes, he said, are owned or leased by non-profits or used for educational, recreational, and traditional purposes.

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He said the participation in the canoeing culture gives people a sense of purpose and understanding of the Hawaiian culture that they might not otherwise have.

Bill signing HB1412 SD2, photo by Wendy Osher.

Bill signing HB1412 SD2. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The governor said that in addition to conveying Hawaiian culture, the canoes, “provide a solid foundation for young men and women to immerse themselves in the kinds of values associated with the native Hawaiian history and legacy of native Hawaiians that is a positive one.”

“It helps them to understand their bodies, understand where their mind should be, and understand their place in Hawaiian history. The native Hawaiian canoe and the lore that’s associated with it, the history that’s associated with it, is fundamental to that.”

“Bottom line,” he said, “is it is crucial to preserving, enhancing and maintaining native Hawaiian culture for all of us. This bill is specifically geared toward accommodating that aspect of boating and water in Hawaiʻi, and our ocean life, and what it means to us in terms of our basic values,” said the governor prior to signing the legislation into law.

Among those in attendance was Kimokeo Kapahulehua, president of Hui O Waʻa Kaulua, the group that is tasked with launching the Moʻokiha o Piʻilani voyaging canoe for Maui later this year.

Kapahulehua said the signing comes at a “bright time” for the voyaging community, as the Hōkūleʻa travels throughout Maui Nui on the first leg of its worldwide voyage.

He said the new law “makes it possible for the canoe to be in its rightful place.”

Bill signing HB1412 SD2, photo by Wendy Osher.

Kimo Kapahulehua with Governor Neil Abercrombie at the bill signing of HB1412 SD2 into law. Photo by Wendy Osher.

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