Prior to the launching of Kanehunamoku, there was a lot of work that went into the canoe. That's where our class, the wa'a project of Halau Ku Mana, came into play. The sanding process was probably the longest process we had to do. We took months to help sand the many different parts going through the varnishing process. The night of the launch was very inspirational because it was an experience to be by Kane's side when she got ready to meet Kanaloa again. All the things we did first semester in dry dock, fixing her up and getting her makaukau to sail, led up to this moment, "We're almost there!"
During the awa ceremony, seating was arranged in a certain way for the people participating. There was an introduction by Uncle Maka, who mixed the 'awa. He made us comfortable, then started off the ceremony. The first 'awa went to the ocean and Kanehunamoku. As people received their 'awa, they were given a chance to speak. People gave thanks with chants and ha'i olelo, shared their personal feelings, then either drank the 'awa or gave it back to the 'aina.
Finally, the wa'a was ready to touch the ocean again. Kumu Kawika led the protocol to bless her, and all hands were needed to lift her over the wall and into the waters of Ka'alaea. Finally hearing her touch the water, in the light of the full moon, after all our hard work...AMAZING!
While training for the wa'a, I was able to find that perseverance is an important skill to have in life. If there were areas where you had a hard time in, there were always the kumu to help you get it pa'a. There were the kumu and crew members to always practice everything from knots, to olis and hakas, down to saving lives.
Working on everything I knew and learned in wa'a helped me to make my weaknesses my strengths, and my strengths even stronger.
Working on my knowledge of the wa'a helped me to "Kulia i ka Nu'u" - Strive for my Highest Potential.
Kulia Naipo - Kanaka of Halau Ku Mana Papa Wa'a