Many will say that one of the Native Hawaiian's most remarkable achievements would have to be the Hawaiian canoe, renowned for its fine craftsmanship and design based on the Native Hawaiian's vast knowledge of the sea. Without the canoe, the Hawaii we love and know today would not be the same. The canoe was an immensely valued possession, as it was the only means of transportation to voyage to other lands, to run errands, and to fish the open ocean. For kings and chiefs, canoe building was also a means of displaying the strength of the islands' armies.
The lashing of a canoe ('aho hoa wa'a) is a very personal and solemn event, with no one being allowed to disturb the craftsman, and with talking being kept at a minimum to make sure that concentration was keen so that lashing was properly done. If a chief was to have his canoe lashed and the craftsman was disturbed, the offender would be put to death for the offense. The process of lashing calls for cording to be wrapped in a way that prevents the lashing from coming undone in the event that one cord does break.
The Hawaiian outrigger canoes that you can see today are very similar to the canoes once seen by Captain Cook. Unfortunately there are no longer the much larger canoes that had been documented by Cook and his crew. It was reported that some of the largest Hawaiian canoes were carved from large California redwood logs, which made there way to the remote coasts of the Hawaiian Islands. In the 1870s there was a 108-foot long (33-meters) hull that was said to have been discovered, which is now long gone.
Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Cultural History
Hawaiian Paddling Terms & Commands
Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Parts