Thursday, August 26, 2010

Keeping E Ala Voyaging Canoe in Wai'anae

Wai'anae lawmaker, Rep. Maile Shimabukuro, is supporting an effort by community members to keep the E Ala Voyaging Canoe home by proposing that Poka'i Bay be the canoe's permanent dry dock. The boat was launched from Poka'i Bay in 1982, and for the past decade has sit idle at Sand Island before returning home in April 2010. Community members want the canoe to stay on the Wai'anae coast for good in order to use it as an educational tool to teach students about traditional Hawaiian navigational sailing.

Below is the proposal Rep. Shimabukuro drafted for consideration by the city. She has also asked for a meeting with the city in September to show them a Makaha Studio's accompanying video proposal regarding the E Ala voyaging canoe.


WHO: Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), Wai`anae Hawaiian Civic Club (WHCC), and many other individuals are making this request. Makaha Studios is preparing a video with further information regarding this proposal.

WHAT: PVS, WHCC, and others urge the city to allow the use of Poka`i Bay as a location to permanently dry dock the E Ala voyaging canoe. The canoe would be stored under an energy efficient A-frame structure modeled after a halau wa`a in Laie (See model drawing of the “Halau Wa`a `O E Ala” in Appendix 2). The E Ala halau wa`a would feature photo-voltaic solar panels which would provide power for lighting and outlets. A fence, locks, and other security measures would also be constructed to prevent theft, vandalism, vagrancy, and other potential problems.

WHERE: Specifically, the old canoe storage area near the Kuilioloa Heiau would be the ideal location for the E Ala halau wa`a.

WHY: The E Ala needs to be returned home to the Wai`anae Coast to fulfill its purpose, which is to train residents to sail using ancient Hawaiian navigation techniques. As background, the E Ala is currently docked at the Sand Island Maritime Education Training Center (METC). It was constructed on the Wai`anae Coast in 1981 under the leadership of WHCC. At the time, Wai`anae and Nanakuli High School had programs that used the canoe to train students to sail, and the canoe was docked at Wai`anae boat harbor. Unfortunately, funding, liability, and other concerns eventually ended the school-based programs, and the canoe was vandalized while at the boat harbor. This lead to the E Ala being moved to METC, where it has been ever since. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm for E Ala never ended, and PVS has continued to train Wai`anae Coast students to sail and maintain the E Ala (See E Ala background from WHCC website in Appendix 3).

HOW: A dedicated group of volunteers is willing to provide in-kind services to construct and maintain the halau wa`a, fence, and other necessary security measures (See spreadsheet listing E Ala supporters and volunteers in Appendix 1). A federal grant and state legislative measures are being submitted to provide supplemental funding for the E Ala halau wa`a. In February 2010, City employee Edward Freitas stated that from a maintenance perspective, he would not object to allowing the E Ala to be docked at Poka`i Bay.

Furthermore, as stated above, the push to return E Ala to the Wai`anae Coast has been on-going for many years; the key missing elements were captains, crew members, and a location. PVS has trained 3 captains (Sam Kapoi, Kaina Holomalia, and Waimea McKeague), and several crews, who are all young Wai`anae Coast residents. These captains and crews sailed the E Ala, along with two other canoes, Hokule`a and Kamauheheu, back to the Wai`anae Coast from April 20-May 1, 2010 (See media coverage of the Wai`anae Coast sail in Appendix 4). The greater community has also expressed its support, as over 500 people have signed petitions urging the City to provide the permission necessary to allow the E Ala to be docked at Poka`i Bay (See E Ala Petitions in Appendix 5).

WHEN: PVS, WHCC, and other supporters urge the City to allow E Ala to be docked at Poka`i Bay immediately, or as soon as possible.

1 comment:

Captain Gigi said...

I recall submitting a proposal on behalf of a conference of the same name to Gov. George Ariyoshi in the late 1970s to proclaim a day in the State of Hawaii in which to recognize "What's Right With the World." He did, and consequently, so did thousands of others.

I expect your letter to the city next month will meet with equal success.

~ Captain Gigi |