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Sailing into the future

November 21, 2012

Kinikini awaits canoes with youth of Na Pe`a

October 15, 2012. The first day of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park annual Children’s Cultural Festival was more than the usual opening ceremonies for 260+ fourth graders. Three canoes followed the blue water ocean trails of Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail to arrive and join the ceremony. Perhaps with this real visual, a child onshore would be inspired to someday travel on a trail of the ocean by canoe like ancestors of the past.

Two smaller opelu canoes sailed by four young people from Kona brought ho`okupu (gifts). An oli (chant) composed by one of the youth was presented when Kinikini, the larger canoe, carrying the kupuna (elders) – Dennis Hart of Ala Kahakai Trail Association, Fred Cachola of Makani Hou o Kaloko-Honokohau, Aric Arakaki of Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail and Kalani Nakoa of Nakoa Foundation was ready. This marked the official introduction of Na Pe`a (The Sails) Hawaiian canoe sailing program for youth.


Kupuna (elders) aboard Kinikini

Kalani Nakoa has taught a number of kids about the ocean and canoe culture. This picture shows him teaching kids about canoes at 2008 Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP cultural festival, one of many that he has helped with. Na Pe`a (The Sails), a collaboration between Nakoa Foundation and Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, brings together two components that represent and honor lifestyles of Hawaii.

Kalani Nakoa teaching kids about canoes at 2008 Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park’s Childrens’ Cultural Festival

The main focus of this program will be to teach youth how to sail Hawaiian fishing canoe. Training includes learning the names and stories of places, the history of the Hawaiians of Kona, their beliefs, values, traditions and practices of caring for the ocean and beaches, navigation, fishing, and boat safety…so the youth, in turn, may teach others. According to Aric Arakaki, superintendent of Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, “The long term goal is to utilize traditional canoes as a tool for trail management for each trail segment management entity. The focus is also on food security, community resiliency and providing transportation on water trails to shoreline trails.”

For more information, call (808) 326-6012 ext. 104 or visit

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