Waikiki visitors intrigued by Hawaii's rich history and tradition of ocean voyaging and canoe building should stop by the Outrigger Reef on the Beach and take in the hotel's new "Canoe Hale." A museum-quality exhibition located in the property's lobby, the attraction is free to the public and features highly informative displays, videos, Hawaiian artifacts and a fully restored, traditional racing canoe first built circa 1915.
"The Outrigger Reef is committed to expanding the public's understanding of Hawaiian traditions," said Bill Comstock, general manager of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. "So we are thrilled to have this exquisite display on Hawaii's voyaging history through the art of canoe building for our guests, visitors and local residents to enjoy."
The Canoe Hale, or house, is a collaborative effort of Outrigger Reef, Honolulu's Mission Houses museum, the Bishop Museum and the Friends of the Hokulea and Hawaiiloa organizations. Visitors will not only find a scaled-down replica of the Hawaiiloa, a traditionally built Hawaiian ocean voyaging canoe finished in the early '90s, but can also get a closer look at the actual vessel's massive steering paddle.
Other items of interest include a canoe cross-section complete with traditional lashings, a koi stone-cutting ax, fishing lures made from mother of pearl and a lei hulu, or feather lei, hung according to custom high atop an ocean voyaging canoe's sailing boom.
"We are excited to participate in an exhibit that brings a small, but important, part of Hawaiian culture to visitors and kamaaina [residents] alike," said Billy Richards, president of the Friends of Hokulea and Hawaiiloa, during the exhibit's opening ceremony. "The exhibit is also testimony to the Outrigger Reef's commitment to honoring the Polynesian navigators and voyagers that found these islands, utilizing stars and constellations."
During the Outrigger Reef's recently completed $110 million renovation, a wide range of cultural displays, exhibits and artwork were added to the property, and the entrance to the hotel itself was redesigned in the shape of Polynesian canoe house. From that structure's ceiling hangs the Hoaloha, a fully restored koa wood canoe first crafted more than 100 years ago.