We hope everyone had a great holiday season and are all looking forward to 2012!
It was a good and not so good month for us. Not so good because we had a break-in at Heeia State Park and lost many of our tools. However the good thing was when the word got out (big mahalo to Alana for this) it gave us the opportunity to meet many wonderful people from near and afar. The outpouring from everyone was just amazing. American Savings Bank started it off with a $5,000 donation, we canʼt thank all of you enough for your kokua. Also in January we were privileged to be awarded a grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA). With this we were able to bring the culture of the canoe to more people and to initiate an apprenticeship program. Noe did a wonderful job for us.
The Na Kamalei Nalei OʼKeiki visited us at Heeia State Park. They were from ages 3 to 5 years and were accompanied by their parents. It is always fun to watch the little ones look and feel the canoes. The children love it and the parents had an opportunity to learn about the culture.
Uncle Bobby had his annual paddle workshop (coming again in February 2012!) and we had 4 young men who thoroughly enjoyed learning the use of all the tools. We also had a display at the Kualoa Park annual canoe festival and the Kamehameha School Extension program came to Heeia State Park to learn from him about the work he does on the canoes.
This month brought the beginning of paddling season. Uncle Bobby was there to help out and watch his grandchildren paddle. We also had a visit to our Learning Center at Heeia State Park from Halau Ku Mana Charter School. Ricky, Mark, Gerry, and Uncle Bobby were there to show them how things are done today and yesterday. We also had our first Open House/Canoe Workshop and annual meeting in April. It was a great success with Bill Aila and his wife and many members of the paddling community and other members of the community in attendance.
Uncle Bobby started a new project with the Kahana Valley Community. He is repairing their canoe named Ululani and teaching the young people of Kahana how to repair and care for it. Ricky and Gerry from our foundation are there whenever possible. We had a visit from a gentleman from the Smithsonian Institute (American History Museum) and he and Uncle Bobby had a chance to talk story at our Learning Center located at Heeia State Park. We were able to be at the Battle of the Paddle this year. Dave Chun sponsored Puakea Foundation shirts and the donations from them went to the foundation. And we have a canoe trailer. Yeaaa!
June and July:
We had the opportunity to have a 10 day paddle making program for the Y 2 Y group from Waimanalo. This afforded the youth that came a chance to learn not only about the canoe culture but also how to work with the different types of wood and tools needed to do the job. During the Nanakuli race Honolulu Pearls canoe became damaged and is now at our Learning Center waiting to be repaired.
August and September:
This was a time we were busy preparing for our trip to Kailua-Kona for the Liliuokalani Race. We went there to promote our foundation and to support a group of blind paddlers belonging to Makapo Canoe Club out of Newport Acquatic Center in California. The foundation with Uncle Bobby, Alana, Ricky and Noe put on an introduction to paddle making for them and the youth from NAC one evening at our hotel. It was a wonderful experience watching them listen and feel the different stages of paddle making. They learned about the dryland forest and indigenous plants of Hawaii. Also while in Kailua-Kona Uncle Bobby helped the blind paddlers rig the koa canoe for the races. Kamehameha CC was generous enough to bring the Halani (Uncle Bobbyʼs 1st canoe out of a log) from Hilo for them to use. We had a display in the King Kamehameha Hotel and through this we met and talked with people from all over the world about our canoe culture. It was a weekend we will all cherish. Oh Yes, Uncle Bobby was in the Hana Hou Magazine also. (Pg 20)
This month we attended and put on a display at a fundraiser for the Kamakou Immersion School at Kokokahi YWCA in Kaneohe. Uncle Bobby also started a 5 day class for a Punahou student who had to make a paddle for a class project. Maya did an excellent job and made a beautiful paddle using all the machines required for the job.
Uncle Bobby was put in jail for MDS and thanks to a lot of good friends we were able to bail him out. Mahalo to all of you for your generosity.
We had our annual visit from the Ala Wai Elementary School 5th graders (68 students). It is always a pleasure to have them with us. They get a chance to learn the culture and swing an adze. They also get a tour of the park and learn its history. Itʼs alway a fun day for them as well as a learning experience. We also started a new session with the Y 2 Y this month.
In the meantime Uncle Bobby has been working on Hanalei CC koa canoe and it is coming along nicely. It has been a busy year. We are very fortunate to have a wonderful Board of Directors and great supporters.
We would like to say a big Mahalo to Roxanne Darling of Bare Feet Studios for our wonderful website, to the Hawaiian Tourism Authority, the sponsors of the Battle of the Paddle event, Alan Nishimura for our trailer, Sams Club, American Savings and all the wonderful people who supported us this year.
Please come and join us anytime at our site at Heeia State Park. Everyone is welcome and we would like to encourage anyone who wants to learn about building and repairing koa canoes to come and join us. If you are interested in becoming an apprentice please contact us.
Mahalo and Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou from all of us at the Puakea Foundation