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Mo`okiha O Pi`ilani: Launch Day, Part 2

It was finally time for the formal ceremonies to begin. In her role as emcee, Makalapua Kanuha asked the dignitaries to take their seats under the tents.



The rest of us had to stand in the sun or find shade as best we could. Fortunately, I found a spot just outside the tent where the crew was seated. It was a great spot because I could see and photograph much of the ceremony — and I was in the shade. Considering that it turned out to be a hot day, it was a great spot.


The prominent dignitaries who were not yet seated, paraded toward the tents — here Captain Timi Gilliom.


Next were the members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Kahekili Chapter. We were told that members must have Hawai`ian blood and are generally in their 70s or older. The capes are symbolic of the feather capes that the ali`i (chiefs and royalty) wore in pre-contact Hawai`i as an indication of their lofty status.

At the forefront is Sir Aliʻi Nui William Roback; to his right (with glasses) is Sir Aliʻi Ai Moku David Kamai; directly behind Aliʻi Nui is Mamo Donald Snyder; and behind Donald is Mamo Solomon Kaauamo.


The female counterpart is the ʻAhahui Kaʻahumanu, Chapter IV, Wailuku, named in honor of Queen Ka`ahumanu who was the favorite wife of King Kamehameha I and who served as co-ruler of the Kingdom of Hawai`i with the next two kings (Kamehameha II and III).

Leading the procession is member Kahiliihiwa Kipapa; followed by Kahu Loretta Lauʻae Chin, Pelekikena Carol Lee Kamekona and Member Edwina Wilson-Snyder.


With the dignitaries all seated came the blowing of the conch by Kauʻi Kahaialiʻi.


The next order of business was a series of short speeches thanking and congratulating all the people who played a role in making the dream of a Maui ocean-going double-hulled canoe possible. The first was Mayor Arakawa, the mayor of Maui County (consisting of the islands of Maui, Moloka`i and Lana`i).


Gifts were given to the crew to carry aboard the Mo`okiha O Pi`ilani both for practical and symbolic reasons. The man on the left is Gunars Valkirs, Makana Aloha Foundation. [ed. note: I am hoping to identify the other man as well.]


A real treat was the performance by this teenager who sang a mele (song) of his own composition, celebrating the canoe and its future role in Maui culture.


Representing the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Mamo Solomon Kaauamo offered his blessing and best wishes to the crew...


...as did Pelekikena Carol Lee Kamekona, member of `Ahahui Ka`ahumanu.


Here Iku Naha Kalele Mahoe of Hale o Na Aliʻi Hālau o Liliʻuoakalani Inc. Chapter IV presented gifts directly to Captain Timi Gilliom.


A dancer from the Old Lahaina Luau also offered gifts to the crew.


Last but definitely, not least, Cultural Practitioner Sam Kaʻai spoke of the ancient customs and methods of both building the ocean-going canoes and of wayfinding — the ways by which the Polynesians found their way to Hawai`i and back. His expertise would certainly qualify him as a kahuna (a master of knowledge in the old Hawai`ian ways).


To be continued...

Life is good.

Aloha,
B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com