Celebrating 21 Years Of Makaliʻi

he wa`a he moku, he moku he wa`a

Na Kalai Waa is an education-based 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the maintenance of cultural values and customs through the teaching and application of non-instrument navigation and open-ocean voyaging.

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"He wa'a he moku, he moku he wa'a."


Hawaiian Crab Claw Sail Petroglyph

  "He waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻa" simply translates to "The canoe is our island, and the island is our canoe."

Clay Bertelmann, founder of Na Kālai Waʻa, uttered these words when explaining the unique holistic nature of wa'a practices and how they relate to us individually and as a larger community. Simply put, what we do on land like we do on the canoe.


  This is the vision of Nā Kālai Waʻa and the foundation of our work with our  communities.


ʻOhana Makaliʻi

Shorty and the Wahine Aukai of Makalii - Ku Holo Mau

ʻOhana Makaliʻi is made up of all those individuals who together helped to make the dream of Makaliʻi a reality. We began humbly on the slopes of Mauna Loa searching for a log for Mauloa, our first canoe. Today we are over 1,000 strong.

"...kini kini..."  Thousand, Thousand

 A voyaging caMakalii canoe and the Mahoenoe is a maritime parallel to the  kauhale (village) system of Hawaiʻi. The success of a canoe depends on all kūlana (roles) of society. Crew consist of lawaiʻa (fishermen), mahiʻai (farmers), kahuna pule (priests), kahuna noeʻau (craftsmen), aliʻi (leaders), and makaʻāinana (the people). The canoe presents a platform for individuals to practice their cultural lifestyle in a synergetic way. This is what makes Makaliʻi programs unique; each individual is celebrated for what they can contribute to the whole 'ohana. We are the village. What we do to survive on land, we do to survive on the canoe.

It's easy to join our ʻohana, our community. Become a volunteer, bring your school, group or organization down to visit Makaliʻi or any of our other waʻa, canoes. It just takes a little aloha.


Nā Kālai Wa`a Contact Information

address: P.O. Box 748, Kamuela, HI 96743

office: Waimea Office Center, 65-1206 Mamalahoa Hwy, Suite 1-101, Kamuela, HI 96743

phone: 808-885-9500     fax: 808-887-1144     facebook: facebook.com/nakalaiwaa

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