By Tino Ramirez
Advertiser North Shore Bureau
HALEIWA Construction of a halau waa, or canoe house, at Haleiwa Elementary School is set to begin this spring, bringing the Haleiwa-Waialua Association closer to launching a double-hulled sailing canoe on the North Shore.
"It took a while, but everything is in place," said association president Kimo Lyman last week. "Were ordering the lumber soon and then well try to complete the halau during the schools break in March.
"We thought wed build the halau before the canoe, which will give the canoe a home."
The association was formed in 1998 to build a canoe, promote cultural values, and bring people together. Its roots are in the 1997 visits to Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor by the voyaging canoes Hokulea and Makalii, which were greeted with great enthusiasm.
While still raising money and designing the halau, the association has been continuing its cultural and educational mission. Lyman, a veteran of voyages on Hokulea and Hawaiiloa, said the effort has evolved into much more than building a canoe.
"It involves all things Hawaiian, Hawaiian values and getting back to roots, which is not necessarily just Hawaiian," Lyman said.
He said his involvement has given him an opportunity to work with community elders such as Dan Gora, Kanani Awai and Winona Chaney.
The project will also give students and teachers the same opportunity, said Jan Yoneda, principal of Haleiwa Elementary.
| For details about the canoe project and the Haleiwa-Waialua Association, call Haleiwa Elementary at 637-8237.
Students at Haleiwa Elementary and Waialua High School are preparing to become members of the canoes crew when it is built, she said. The project also includes a curriculum that will teach navigation by the stars and give students an opportunity to grow plants used on long canoe voyages.
The projects cultural education efforts already have created a connection between association members and the people of Tautira, Tahiti. When Hokulea sailed to Tahiti in 1999, association members flew south to give its crew a traditional Hawaiian welcome and were hosted by residents of Tautira. Last year, the association hosted a picnic for more than 50 of their hosts during Hokuleas homecoming celebrations.
A grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is paying part of the $120,000 it will cost to build the halau, and contractor Jeff Johnson has been hired for the project. The wooden halau will stand about 30 feet high, have a steep roof and be open on the sides. At 64 feet long and 40 feet wide, it also will have room for teaching.
The association still needs about $150,000 to build the canoe. Lyman said one possibility for constructing its fiberglass hulls is a mold that Jay Dowsett may be making at Sand Island for a voyaging canoe being planned in Kona.
"Once we build the halau, were going to be tapped out on funds," Lyman said. "But if (Dowsett) builds the plug and mold, which is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process, it can be used for any number of canoes."
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