Rebuild the Canoe, Restore the Connection, Reshape the Future:

Help us take Hawaiʻiloa to Alaska.

We, the Friends of Hokulea and Hawaiiloa regret to inform our viewers and those who support us, that the Alaska Trip 2023 will be postponed for at least one year due to overwhelming restoration repairs and lack of funding. We will continue to plan the cultural exchange between FHH and AN, i.e., laying the groundwork for the AK trip.

Hokulea sailing on the ocean

The Dream of Hawaiʻiloa carries on.

In 2023, it will be more than thirty years since the wooden double-hulled canoe “wa’a kaulua” was first launched. However, two years after that, in 1995, was the last time Hawaiʻiloa left Hawaiʻi on a voyage.

A decade and a half after the monumental 1976 maiden voyage of Hokule’a to Tahiti, a new canoe was commissioned. This time, it would be built the traditional way: out of trees. After an unsuccessful quest to find native Hawaiian trees large enough for a voyaging canoe, master builder Wright Bowman Jr. and his Friends (from where we get our name), took to carving two Sitka spruce logs gifted to us by the native peoples of Alaska. It took two years to build, followed by two years of crew training, repairs, and redesigns before Hawaiʻiloa was seaworthy. In 1995, the canoe left Hawaiʻi for Tahiti, sailed back to Hawai’i, and then visited Washington, Canada, and Alaska. This was his first – and only – voyage.

Haliʻa Aloha o Alakeka: Cherished Memory of Alaska

Hawaiʻiloa would not exist without the Alaskan people, the Sea Alaska Corporation, the Tlingit, the Haida, and the Tsimshian. The first voyage to Alaska in 1995 was to thank these very people for their gift of the trees, and it inspired a cultural revitalization for a new generation there.

However, since then, our canoe has fallen into disrepair. That generation of indigenous Alaskan children has grown up and had children of their own. This new generation has heard of the canoe but never seen it in their home waters. It is time to return. It is time to take Hawaiʻiloa back home.

We couldn’t have built this canoe without the gift of the Sitka spruce logs when we couldn’t find koa trees large enough here in Hawaiʻi. The Friends of Hōkūleʻa and Hawaiʻiloa will honor these legendary contributors and spend a year visiting as many Alaskan people as possible to say, “Mahalo mai kākou,” Thank you from us all, for this gift.

He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole: An Inseverable Relationship

Since the beginning, it’s been our mission to care for, maintain, and build canoes by the cultural traditions of the Native Hawaiian people, and teach as many as possible to continue the legacy of the skilled canoe builder “kālai wa’a”. This visit will restore the connection of our elders and teach the young, whoever wants to learn.

The reason Hawaiʻiloa has not voyaged since 1995 has not been for lack of desire, but rather due to the immense challenge of restoring, rebuilding, and maintaining a seaworthy vessel built from natural, indigenous materials. We are a small, but dedicated crew, and could use all of your kōkua in keeping the dream alive. Much more work needs to be done to rebuild and repair entire parts of the canoe, as well as plan and fund raise for our upcoming voyage to reconnect with our Alaskan family, ’ohana.

The past several years caused a dark period for our wa’a kaulua and many of us in our own lives as well. We want to actively work towards a brighter tomorrow, by keeping alive the traditions of yesterday. Help us reshape the future into a positive vision for the next generation.

The Friends of Hokulea and Hawaiʻiloa appreciate your support and any donation to make this successful. Thank you “Mahalo nui” in advance for your contribution.