Crew Blog by Nāʻālehu Anthony
Aloha Nui Kakou,
As conditions are still unfavorable for us to transit to Tautira with our canoes, the Tautira ʻOhana took the opportunity to welcome us into their homes today. The community of Tautira have been the caretakers of our canoes and crews since Hōkūleʻa’s maiden voyage of 1976. Since then, new generations of crewmembers and members of this community have come together to keep that pilina (connection) as strong as ever. Today was evidence of that.
Our first stops were to the grave sites of those who built this relationship some 4 decades ago. Names like Puaniho Tauotaha (ʻŌiwiTV’s Maui Tauotaha’s grandfather), Vahirua Barff, Papa Mate Hoatua, Tutaha Salmon and Papa Sane Matehau were all honored and remembered in story by the crews here today. And the stories continued with tales of the canoe club of Tautira, Maire Nui, having never lost a canoe race in Tahiti in more than 20 years — it’s no wonder that this community embraced Hōkūleʻa in those early days, as these men are known as some of the best canoe paddlers on Earth. This would also be the crew to come to the Molokai Hoe in the early days and begin the tradition of Tahitian domination of that race, winning it three times.
Papa Sane was the Mayor of the area and his house is flanked by thousand-foot waterfalls, and a view of the area where Hōkūleʻa moors in front of it. This slice of paradise is where we all came together tonight to launa and remember these special people who set the tone for how we are received today. The music started up as soon as the food was blessed. The intensity and cadence of the music of our hosts is matched by their paddling, as they set out to play for hours. The circle of players got bigger and bigger until the whole party was a vortex surrounding the instruments, ranging from a guitar to Tahitian ʻukulele to cow bell to spoons. But I think the best part tonight were the voices that pierced through the wet weather to make us all feel like we are welcomed as family. Tonight was proof that relationships like these will carry on no matter the distance or time that spans, as the pilina found with the canoe is now unbreakable. I speak for all of us who are here on these vessels when I say we are humbled at the care and attention extended by our Tautira ʻohana to all of us as we get ready to sail back to Hawaiʻi.
Me ka mahalo a me ka haʻahaʻa,
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