By Bill Comstock
The Outrigger Reef on the Beach (ORF) opened their new Canoe Hale (house) last weekend with a blessing attended by representatives of the Friends of Hōkūle‘a and Hawai‘iloa, Missions Houses Museum, Bishop Museum Association, as well as hotel staff and guests.
The exhibit, which features aspects of Polynesian voyaging, includes the actual steering paddle from the voyaging canoe the Hawai‘iloa, as well as a replica of the Hawai‘iloa crafted by Wright Bowman. Also featured is the Kaiolahia, a racing canoe, which dates from circa 1915. Numerous other artifacts are on display.
Billy Richards, President of the Friends of Hōkūle‘a and Hawai‘iloa, remarked, “The exhibit is the result of the combined effort of the Outrigger Reef Hotel, the Bishop Museum, the Mission Houses, and the Friends of Hōkūle‘a and Hawai‘iloa. That is quite a collaboration that brings a small, but important, part of Hawaiian culture to visitor and kama‘āina alike. It is also further testimony to the Outrigger Reef’s commitment to honoring the Polynesian navigators and voyagers that found these islands, utilizing stars and constellations that the hotel saw fit to name their best suites after.”
Billy went on to say, “Like most travelers, our visitors bring with them their own perception of Hawai‘i. Most only know us from travel books, or productions like “Lost,” or more recently from the news wires (the recent tsunami). It is up to the visitor industry and those willing to share, that allow them opportunities to expand their awareness of our islands, its history, its people, and its cultures.”
A favorite piece in the exhibit is the lei hulu (feather lei), which hung from the mast of the Hōkūle‘a when Billy sailed through the South Pacific.
Next time you are visiting the Outrigger Reef on the Beach, please stop by and enjoy this small piece of our Islands’ cultural heritage.