ASTWR Ep.22: Kanehunamoku

Youth returning to shore from Kanehunamoku (Photo courtesy of Kaipo Kiaha)

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ASTWR Ep.22: Kanehunamoku–The canoe as teacher and lifelong learning, is a conversation with Bonnie Kahapeʻa Tanner, program director and captain at the Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging academy. Kahapeʻa acquired her sailing skills, and many life skills, under the mentorship of Clay Bertelmann and the Makaliʻi ʻohana, as well as Papa Mau. These experiences, combined with her degree in psychology and various teaching positions, set the stage for her to create a voyaging academy. Her objective is to build self-awareness, cultural awareness, and leadership capacity in the next generation. We talk about her journey to become a sailor/captain, howKānehūnāmoku (the actual wa'a or canoe) came to be, her commitment to learning and perpetuating knowledge, and the impact made upon her by amazing mentors. Overall, this show is about how spending time on a canoe is really about finding your purpose, and deepening your understanding of life.

Resources for topics discussed on the show:

  • Kānehunamoku Voyaging Academy: To Perpetuate the Knowledge of traditional Hawaiian vavigation and to provide opportunities to Native Hawaiian students to advance in contemporary ocean based careers through academic, college, and career support.
  • Hōkūleʻa & the Mālama Hōnua World Wide Voyage: Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, our Polynesian voyaging canoes, are sailing across Earth’s oceans to join and grow the global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage began in 2013 with a Mālama Hawaiʻi sail around our archipelago, and will continue through 2017 when our new generation of navigators take the helm and guide Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia back to Polynesia after circumnavigating the globe.
  • Papa Mau:
  • Makaliʻi Voyaging Family: Makali‘i, a third Hawaiian voyaging canoe (following Hōkūle‘a and Hawai‘iloa), was launched at Kawaihae on the Big Island on Saturday, Feb. 4, 1995. Her maiden voyage took her to Taputapuatea, Ra'iatea, in Tahiti Nui, and Nukuhiva in the Marquesas Islands in 1995, as part of the 1995 Voyage, Nā Ohana Holo Moana, The Voyaging Families of the Vast Ocean. 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.
  • ʻOhana Waʻa: The family of canoes across the Pacific.
  • Hālau Kū Māna Public Charter School: Cultivating agents of change for the 'Aina, 'Ohana, and Communities.


Mahalo Piha––deep gratitude––to Hānau Creative for producing the show, to Kupa’āina for letting me use a piece of the awesome song Simple Island People in the intro of each show, and to my family and close friends who have continued to support me on my creative journey through life.

Naiʻa Lewis