Dennis Chun’s time on the ocean as a crewmember fuels his passion for canoe building, a task too large for just one man. So the Kauaʻi community has come together to help with their very own canoe, Nāmāhoe.
“An example is just Leināʻala Pavao’s um hālau that came down, you know, she brought her hālau down here and wow, they got, they got some work done and many of them, and these are all wahine too,” says Dennis Chun, crewmember on the Worldwide Voyage and canoe builder of Nāmāhoe.
“We got up on waʻa, did some sanding, did some um, varnishing did some or you know glazing or whatever you call that but you know just had a wonderful time,” says Kumu Hula Leināʻala Pavao-Jardin. “Nā Māhoe, you know it’s, itʻs Kauaʻi and, and Ni’ihau as well and so I am humbled and just thrilled that we will have played just a small part in putting her into water yea.”
Leināʻala’s dancer, Jayna Shaffer has also found a deeper connection to and appreciation for their waʻa. “I feel, it’s very very important because hula weaves the story, the Hawaiian stories and um puts them together, voyaging puts the stories out there for everyone to hear and everyone to listen to and without one or the other, the stories can’t be told and so for us, Nā Māhoe is very very important because we can weave the stories together so that Nā Māhoe can send it off.”
For Dennis Chun, it is these types of relationships that make for the necessary tools to truly build Nāmāhoe. “For us, it’s just coming in and putting whatever mana you have into it more spiritualness you have you know, to, to add to the growing um mana of the canoe.”
That mana and the dream of Nāmāhoe came from the late crew member and Doctor, Pat Aiu.
“He was dreaming, one night that he was back in ancient times on this canoe,” reminisced Dennis Chun. “And during the dream he began to understand, they’re all talking in Hawaiian and he understood Hawaiian quite well actually, and he began to realize that he was in Kaʻieowaho Channel right here between O’ahu and Kauaʻi. And they were sailing along and the navigator was talking to the chief, the aliʻi nui of the canoe and was saying okay, you’re going to steer for Nāmāhoe to get to Kauaʻi. And he said at some point in time in the future, there’s going to be a canoe named after that, and then he woke up and so he came and told us we gotta name the canoe that.”
This dream will come to fruition this summer when she launches for sea trial. Stay tuned to ʻŌiwi TV for more updates on Nāmāhoe and the Worldwide Voyage.