Canoe Building


Canoe Life

Polynesian Migrations

Parts of the Hawaiian Canoe

[Photo below: Kalawaia Goo Works on the manu of Hawai'iloa]

Click here for a diagram of Hokule'a with parts labeled.

The canoe was called "wa'a." "Wa'a kaukahi" was a single-hulled canoe; "wa'a kaulua" was a double-hulled canoe. The various parts of a canoe had the following names:

'aha: braided or twisted cord used in lashing the canoe, made of pulu-niu (coconut husk fiber), olona fiber, or hau (hibiscus bark fiber); 'aha-niu: cordage made of pulu-niu

'akea: hull of an outrigger canoe; starboard hull of a double canoe

ama: float on an outrigger canoe; port hull of a double canoe.

awa: harbor, port, cove; awa ku wa'a: canoe harbor or anchorage; awa pae: landing place

'eku: "snout" of the canoe, the prow, which digs into the ocean as the snout of a pig digs into the earth

halau wa'a: canoe house

heleuma: anchor

hoe: a paddle; to paddle

hoe uli: center steering paddle; hoe ama: port steering blade; hoe 'akea: starboard steering blade

'iako: arched crossbeams which fasten the floater (ama) to the hull in an outrigger canoe

iwikuamo'o: keel

iwi ka'ele: keel

ka'ele: canoe hull

kaula: line; kaule hau: hau (hibiscus) rope

kaula hope: backstay, or line from mast to stern

kaula huki: halyard, or line used to haul up the sail

kaula ihu: forestay; line from mast to bow.

kaula lana: mooring line

kaula luahine: lashing line running alongside the canoe (in the mo'o on Hokule'a) to which the pa'u or ahu (storm cover) is lashed

kaula pa'a: stay; line to secure the mast

kaula paepae: sheets (lines controlling the angle of the sail to the wind)

kaula pe'a: tricing line; used to open and close sail

kaula pu: shrouds (lines which stay the masts to each side of the vessel)

kaupo'i: median canoe-bow cover

kawelewele: ropes used to assist in righting a capsized canoe

ke'a: beams connecting the hulls of a double canoe

kia: mast; kia hope: aftermast; Hokule'a's was named "Heiau" by Chief Tofa in 1976; kia ihu: foremast Hokule'a's was named "Terikitu" by Chief Tofa in 1976.

ki'i: tiki, or carved image of a god; ki'i kane: the male tiki; ki'i wahine: the female tiki

ko wa'a: line for towing a canoe, or dragging a canoe hull down from the mountain forest where it was chopped down and rough hewn.

kua 'iako: portion of the 'iako lashed to the canoe hull

kuamo'o: hull; keel

kuapo'i: weatherboard

kumu kia: mast step; kumuhonua: base of mast step

kupe: curved endpieces covering the fore and aft parts of the hull; also called "manu"; kupe also means "to steer a canoe"

la: sail; la-hope: aftersail; la-ihu: foresail

lanalana: ornmamental lashing which binds the ama to the 'iako in an outrigger canoe

lei hulu: feather lei flown from the tip of the boom

liu: bilge, or inside bottom of the hull

lona: blocks on which a canoe rest when out of water

maka ihu: point at the bow end of a canoe

manu: curved endpieces covering the fore and aft parts of the hull; manu hope: back manu; manu ihu: forward manu

moamoa: point at the stern end of a canoe

mo'o: side planks fastened to the top edges of the hulls to increase the height of the sides of the canoe above the waterline

mouo: buoy

muku: the part of the 'iako or ke'a (crossbeams) which extends beyond the hull

niao: the rim of the hull

noho: seat

'o pe'a: spar, or sprit; on Hokule'a, the spar is fastened to the luff (leading edge) of the sail, and is drawn up to the mast by the halyards

'ope'ope: bundles, packages, baggage brought on board the canoe

paepae: boom; the spar to which the foot of the sail is fastened, and to which are fastened the sheets (lines for controlling the angle of the sail to the wind); the boom is raised and lowered with tricing lines

pale: barrier; pale-kai or pale-wai: splashguards, sideboards, or weatherboards, used to keep breaking waves or swells out of the hull; pale kana: safety railing along or around the deck

pa'u: storm covers which fit over the openings of the hulls

pe'a: sail; pe'a hope: aft-sail; pe'a ihu: foresail

pepeiao: "ear" or projections on the inside of the hull to hold the seats

pola: center platform or deck of a wa'a kaulua (double-hulled canoe); also called papahele

polena: forestay; "polena" also means "furled, as a sail is furled" (see kaula ihu).

pueo: shrouds

pukolu: a triple-hulled canoe

wae: spreader, used to keep the hulls of a canoe from collapsing inward