Kaniela is one of the youngest members of Hōkūleʻa's crew. He first became involved in voyaging in 2005 when he attended a wa'a program in Kawaihae with the voyaging canoe Makaliʻi. In that program, he had the opportunity to meet and learn navigation from master navigator Papa Mau Piailug. Mau encouraged him to continually practice to gain knowledge. Aboard Hōkūleʻa, Kaniela is a student crewmember to learn all the roles and aspects of the crew. Kaniela attended the small Hawaiian charter school Kanu o ka ‘Āina in Waimea on the Hawai'i Island. Kaniela is now a student at Hawaiʻi Community College and a technical engineer at Waimea's small performing arts theater.
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