/ The Hawaii Traveler
Hawaii — By byun on April 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm
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Check out the Outrigger Reef’s new Canoe Hale

The Outrigger Reef on the Beach [map] has opened a new museum quality exhibit that highlights the Hawaiian traditions of canoe building and voyaging. The “Canoe Hale” (‘hale’ is the Hawaiian word for ‘house’), located in the hotel lobby just past the front desk and open daily free to the public, is a collaborative effort of the Outrigger Reef and The Friends of Hōkūle‘a and Hawai`iloa, Mission Houses Museum, and Bishop Museum.

The exhibit includes the actual steering paddle from the voyaging canoe Hawai`iloa, as well as a replica of the Hawai`iloa crafted by master woodworker Wright Bowman, Sr.  Also featured is the Kaiolahia, a traditional racing canoe (circa 1915) that was painstakingly restored by master canoe artisan Tay Perry. Also on display are an adze or koi stone cutting ax, a canoe cross section with lashing, mother of pearl traditional fishing lures and aconch shell from the Cook Islands. A favorite piece in the exhibit is the lei hulu (feather lei), which is hung high atop the boom of the canoe’s crab-claw sail when it is underway.

The Canoe Hale joins a myriad of other cultural displays, exhibits and programming at the Outrigger Reef that honor Hawaii’s voyaging history. The Outrigger Reef’s “O Ke Kai” series is held several times during the year when representatives from The Friends of Hōkūle‘a and Hawai`iloa share Hawaii’s canoe-building legacy and restoration work on traditional Hawaiian canoes at free presentations. Two more programs are scheduled this year – June 12 and September 12, 2010, from 9 am to 12 noon.

A prominent feature of the property is the hotel entrance, which is designed in the shape of a Polynesian canoe house built of richly-colored woods with traditional patterns. Suspended from the towering ceiling is Hoaloha, a carefully restored koa wood canoe originally crafted more than a century ago, now a welcoming beacon to guests and visitors as they arrive at the hotel.

Another dramatic display is hung behind the lobby’s new sit-down check-in desk: 18 stunning images created by internationally-noted historian and artist Herb Kawainui Kane. The collection pays homage to the incredible history of ocean voyaging, and depicts a variety of canoes from various Pacific Basin locations including the Caroline Islands, Cook Islands, Islands of Kiribati, Tahiti, Marshall Islands, Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand.  Elsewhere on the property in guest suites and public areas are some 80 wooden canoe paddles and other displays of fine island craftsmanship.

Outrigger’s devotion to its island culture has earned it widespread respect and recognition. In 2008, the artifacts and displays at the Outrigger Reef were honored by the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s prestigious Keep It Hawaii award program.

Photo courtesy of Chrissy Olson (Flickr)

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