Up close and personal with Makali’i crew and helpers

  • Chadd Paishon leads fifth-graders on a tour of Makali’i at the warehouse during a field trip last October. Volunteers can help rebuild the canoe the third Saturday of each month. (COURTESY PHOTO
    Chadd Paishon leads fifth-graders on a tour of Makali’i at the warehouse during a field trip last October. Volunteers can help rebuild the canoe the third Saturday of each month. (COURTESY PHOTO

KOHALA — Through support and funding from the North Kohala Student Cultural Enrichment Program (NKSCEP), 5th graders from Kohala Elementary School took an educational excursion to Mahukona Warehouse in late October to see the Makali’i, a renowned Hawaiian voyaging canoe that is currently undergoing extensive modifications to enable it to sail for another 20 years.

Nearly 22 years ago, on Feb. 4, 1995, the double-hulled Makali’i was launched at Kawaihae on her maiden voyage to Taputapuatea, Ra’aitea, Tahiti Nui and Nukuhiva in the Marquesas Islands. Under the leadership of brothers Clay and Shorty Bertelmann, and canoe builders Billy Richards, Tiger Espere, Chadd Paishon and Clay’s daughter, Pomai Bertelmann, the Makali’i was built.

The canoe has sailed extensively throughout the Hawaiian Islands as well to the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Guam and Saipan.

The 5th graders and their teachers, Tonya Tyler, Melanie Rufo and Jessica Bautista, learned hands-on under the direction of Paishon. Students rotated from learning the history of Mauloa to sanding hau for upright stanchions and touring Makali’i. After lunch they transitioned to Ho’ea Moku in Hawi to see the gardens where planting to provide food for voyages takes place.

The fifth-graders who attended the field trip were assigned projects as a follow up.

“Our Science Unit for the second quarter was on Malama Honua, inspired by Hokulea,” said Tyler. “They worked in groups to research how they could care for the earth, showed how the Makali’i crew cares for the earth and how they themselves can care for the earth. They made iMovies as a class project to illustrate this. It was the first time many of them had been to see Makali’i and go on it. They brought iPads there and to Ho’ea Moku Garden to document their experiences. Just before the winter break all of the iMovies were submitted to the Science Fair.”

The Makali’i renovation is about 70 percent complete now.

“We, Na Kalai Wa’a, are looking for community help whenever people are available, like the students did,” Paishon said. “We are working on Makali’i Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Normally the third Saturday of every month, until completed, is set aside as a community work day with the exception of this month.”

The next Saturday comnunity volunteer day will be Feb. 18.

Info: 885-9500 or www.Facebook.com/NaKalaiWaa

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