Starting with Bowman’s and continuing today, the Friends have encouraged and supported a pool of builders, assistants and apprentices who have successfully built or restored multiple traditional Hawaiian canoes.


Model of Hokule'a

Dimensions: 11 ft x 2 ft x 4 ft | By: Tay Perry and Jay Dowsett
Commissioned by the National Library of Medicine 2011-2015
National Institute of Health for their Native Voices Exhibition
Being returned to FHH ETA November

Sharing Hawai‘i’s Legacy

The Au Hou (New Era) is an 18-foot fishing canoe designed and largely built by Bowman, Jr., but Wrighto died before it was completed. The canoe was donated by Sharon Bowman, Wrighto’s widow, to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. After eight months of work by Jason Tabata and Dennis Lai Hipp, the canoe was shipped to Washington, D.C., where, in September 2004, the finishing touches were completed in front of visitors, providing a living, interactive exhibit on traditional Hawaiian canoe building. The National Museum of the American Indian represents all Native American cultures, including Hawaiian.

Although the canoe is small in size, the project represents not only one of the most visible activities of the Friends to date, but also will serve as the Uniki celebration of the apprentices that worked and learned from Wrighto. If successful, the Piko that connects Wrighto to his apprentices can then be cut, and his students will be able to let him go, knowing that the responsibility of continuing the legacy for the living is in good hands.

Aloha Elemakule… Hoaloha me Hoahanau… Aloha no…

Other Projects

  • From scratch (Tay Perry): Ka Ehukai; Mokulua; Paoa; Hokulele; Honolulu
  • Restored (Tay Perry): Leilani; Kakina; ‘Io; Papaloa; Kalanakila; Honaunau; Malia Kapeka; Ka Mo‘i; Kaukahi; Hoaloha; Moloka‘i
  • Prince Kuhio’s canoe, the ‘A, now displayed in the main hall at the Bishop Museum. (Allan Dowsett)
  • The Eala, restoration and refit of a 42-foot double-hulled sailing canoe. (Jerry Ongies)
  • Hokualaka‘i, 58-foot voyaging built for the Aha Punana Leo, Hilo. (Jay Dowsett & Jerry Ongies)
  • Hokule‘a model, one-third scale (21 feet) built for The National Science Museum, Tokyo, Japan. (Jay Dowsett)
  • 58-foot voyaging canoe (Hokualaka‘i mold) for Mau Piaulug, delivered to Na Kalai Wa‘a. (Jay Dowsett)
  • Kanehunamoku, 30-foot double- sailing canoe made for Charter School Halau Ku Mana. (Jay Dowsett & Jerry Ongies)

  • Kea‘eloa, 30-foot double-hull sailing canoe made for the Aha Punana Leo. (Jay Dowsett & Jerry Ongies)
  • NOAA Science Building, 30-foot double-hull sailing canoe for display, Hilo. (Jay Dowsett)
  • University of Hawai‘i, 30-foot double-hulls made for the Department of Hawaiian Studies, sailing and navigation class. (Jay Dowsett)
  • Hokule‘a 25-foot model, for the Willows Restaurant. (Jay Dowsett)
  • Hokule‘a restoration and refit. (Jay Dowsett, Jerry Ongies)
  • Mo‘okiha redesign consultation, seaworthiness plan. (Jay Dowsett, Jerry Ongies)
  • Circa 1860 Kona canoe from the Brooklyn Museum of Arts and Sciences. (Allan Dowsett)
  • Alapi‘i, restoration of a 19th century fishing canoe from South Kona, through Friends of Kaloko-Honokahau. (Jason Tabata)
  • ‘Elemakule, a fish canoe named after Wright Junior’s middle name. (Jason Tabata)
  • Au Hou, built by Wright Bowman Junior and finished by Jason Tabata, details “Sharing Hawai‘i’s Legacy”.