About 400 people watched Mo'okiha o Pi'ilani - Maui's first traditional, oceangoing canoe - be hauled early Monday from Kamehameha Iki Park to the Mala Wharf Boat Ramp, according to a Hui o Wa'a Kaulua news release.
The 62-foot, double-hulled canoe has been 18 years in the making by the nonprofit Hui o Wa'a Kaulua and was transported down Front Street and arrived at the ramp around 12:45 a.m. Monday.
The canoe is scheduled to be launched around 4 p.m. Friday and will sail, if wind conditions allow, or be towed back toward the park, where it will be moored offshore.
About 400 people watched Mo‘okiha o Pi‘ilani being moved early Monday from Kamehameha Iki Park to the Mala Wharf Boat Ramp. The canoe currently is under a kapu, and only crew members may touch the vessel before its launch Friday.
Photo courtesy of Hui o Wa‘a Kaulua
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Mayor Alan Arakawa, West Maui legislators and other dignitaries will speak around noon Friday, before the launch, the group said.
"Our thoughts and actions were focused on two things: the historic importance of this moment for Maui and safety," said Kimokeo Kapahulehua, president of Hui o Wa'a Kaulua, about Monday's canoe move. "I was thinking of our ancestors who did this 600 years ago and how a whole village, a whole island came together to build and launch the wa'a kaulua. My kuleana was all the safety precautions we took would be sufficient to protect the crowd. Mahalo Ke Akua, all went well."
Crew members and Native Hawaiian groups joined the ceremony that followed proper cultural protocol, the group said.
After completing the ceremony, Mo'okiha o Pi'ilani was placed on a custom boat trailer, where it will remain under the care of several crew members until Friday's launch.
Native Hawaiian practitioners throughout Maui and nearly 40 Maui canoe and paddling clubs will participate in a traditional Hawaiian canoe launching ceremony from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday. Makalapua Kanuha will act as mistress of ceremony.
Hui o Wa'a Kaulua also will host a public celebration from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday with food, music and entertainment at 525 Front St.
For more information, visit Hui o Wa'a Kaulua's website at www.huiowaa.org.