‘Ohana Wa‘a (Canoe Family) Hawai‘i

‘Aha Pūnana Leo: Incorporated in January 1983, the ‘Aha Pūnana Leo (‘APL) was born out of a dream that the Hawaiian language, then on the brink of extinction, might survive for future generations. Its voyaging canoe Hōkūalaka‘i is a platform used to support Hawaiian language development and promote mauli ola Hawai‘i life learning through its program offerings. Members of the crew are training for the World Wide Voyage.


Friends of Hōkūle‘a & Hawai‘iloa: The Friends is a non-profit organization dedicated to the perpetuation of Hawaiian canoe building traditions and values through the preservation and development of canoe building resources.

Founder of the Friends, Wright Bowman, Jr. at the launching of Hawai‘iloa, 1993.

By building, maintaining, and restoring canoes, the Friends hope to improve understanding and appreciation for this unique Hawaiian heritage, not only for Hawaiians, but for any person interested in learning.

Hui o Wa‘a Kaulua (“Assembly of the Double-Hull Canoe”) is a 501(c)3 non-profit cultural organization formed in 1975 on Maui to support the construction of Mo’olele (The Leaping Lizard), a 42p-foot wa’a kauluaa (double hull canoe) with a traditional crab claw sail.

Our mission: “In partnership with other groups, Hui O Wa’a Kaulua is committed to developing and conducting model educational programs using voyaging to excite and challenge students and their communities to learn about, respect, and care for the natural and social environment.” It is our vision to have “a healthy, productive, safe Hawai’i and planet Earth.” Currently, the Hui is building a voyaging canoe, Mo’okiha o Pi‘ilani (The Sacred Lizard of Maui), in Lāhaina, Maui.

Mo‘okiha, under contruction, 2009

Members of Hui o Wa‘a Kaulua are training as crew for the World Wide Voyage.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i: Voyaging canoes and astronomers' telescopes—Tools of the explorers: Framed by a rich Polynesian tradition of exploration, ‘Imiloa is Hawai‘i’s premier facility for interpreting the deepest mysteries of the universe, being unraveled by the Maunakea observatories—the world’s largest and most important collection of telescopes. ‘Imiloa is a founding member of ‘Ohana Wa‘a.

Nā Kalai Wa‘a Moku o Keawe (“The Canoe Builders of the Island of Keawe”) is a non-profit organization established in March 1993 on the west side of Hawai'i island. Its mission is to preserve, protect, and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and to contribute toward a safe and healthy future for Hawai`i. An appreciation for the Hawaiian culture is generated through education, personal pride, and the awareness of cultural values significant to the Hawaiian society. In February 1995, blessed by the rare appearance of a double rainbow, its voyaging canoe Makali‘i was lowered into the waters of Kawaihae on the west side of Hawai‘i Island.

Makali‘i 1995

Members of Nā Kalai Wa‘a are training as crew for the World Wide Voyage.

Nā Kalai Wa‘a o Kaua‘i (“The Canoe Builders of Kaua‘i”) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the perpetuation, practice and exploration of the seafaring arts and skills of the ancient Polynesians. Our mission is to provide the island of Kaua'i with the opportunities and excitement that come with a performing replica of a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, that will serve to implement enriching educational and cultural programs. Currently the organization is building a voyaging canoe, Nā Mahoe, in Lihue, Kaua'i. Members are training as crew for the World Wide Voyage.

Nā Mahoe, 2011

‘Ohana Wa‘a (Pacific-wide)

Cook Islands Voyaging Society: The Cook Islands Voyaging Society Inc was established as a non-profit organisation in 1992 after the 6th Pacific Arts Festival held on Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Among its aims are to "Recover and relearn knowledge, skills and traditions about constructing traditional Cook Islands ocean voyaging canoes" and train crew members "to safely and successfully complete an ocean voyage throughout the Pacific."

Fiji Islands Voyaging Society: Seven Pacific islands groups have mounted a joint effort to preserve and develop their traditions of ocean voyaging by double-hulled canoe, following an agreement reached in Auckland to form Pacific Voyagers, a pan-Pacific network of voyaging societies. The Pacific Voyagers’ network includes voyaging groups in American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga and Western Samoa.

Te Aurere: Te Aurere was the first traditional waka hourua (double hulled voyaging canoe) built by Hekenukumai Busby. Her maiden voyage was to Rarotonga in 1992.

Te ʻAurere

Since then it has sailed over the Pacific to Hawai'i, Tahiti, Marquesas, New Caledonia and Norfolk Island. The organisation behind Te Aurere and its cultural and educational programs is Te Tai Tokerau Tarai Waka Inc (Tarai Waka). Tarai Waka was formed in the late 1980s to build the waka taua Mataatua Puhi. As part of its program to develop kaupapa waka Tarai Waka provides practical training in waka construction, sailing and traditional navigation.

Partners: Educational Institutions

Honolulu Community College/Marine Education and Training Center: Since 2002, the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and the University of Hawai‘i, Honolulu Community College’s Marine Education and Training Center have been working together to develop a learning center that combines the voyaging and cultural expertise of PVS and the educational background of HCC/METC into a new, experience-driven format of training for future students. The center serves as a hub of crew training for the World Wide Voyage and offers classes in Hawaiian Astronomy and Navigation.

Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, in the Hawai‘inuakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa: Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies (HWST) recognizes its kuleana to nurture and educate community leaders, teachers, and scholars who will lead Hawai‘i into the future. Kamakakuokalani offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees that reflect the breadth and interdisciplinary nature of Hawaiian knowledge. The center offers classes in Hawaiian Astronomy and Navigation.

Community Partners (Cultural and Environmental Orgnanizations)

Kai Makana: Kai Makana takes an active role in educating and mobilizing the public to better understand and preserve marine life and the ocean environment. Through educational youth mentorship and community-based programs, Kai Makana motivates people to protect, preserve, and respect the ocean as an ecosystem central to our health, wellness and happiness.

Mālama Hawai‘i: Mālama Hawai‘i is a hui of over seventy organizations and hundreds of individuals committed to the vision that Hawai‘i, our special island home, be a place where the people, land and sea are cared for, and communities are healthy and safe.

Mālama Maunalua: A community-based organization aimed at preserving and restoring the health of the Maunalua region. Our vision is a Maunalua Bay where marine life is abundant, the water is clean and clear, and people take kuleana in caring for the Bay.

Wai‘anae Hawaiian Civic Club: The Wai‘anae Hawaiian Civic Club (WHCC) is a native Hawaiian non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization founded on June 15th, 1935 by residents of the Wai'anae community who dedicated themselves to the advancement of native Hawaiians through education and the preservation of it's native culture. It coastal voyaging canoe E Ala (to awaken, awakening) is used in educational and training programs in partnership with the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

E Ala