Hui Wa'a Kaukahi

Nui a lehulehu na mokupuni, 'a'ole lawa ka manawa

So many islands, so little time!

How you say dat?

“Hui Wa’a Kaukahi” is Hawaiian for a group or association of single (solo) canoes, and is pronounced HUU-ee VAH-ah kow-KAH-hee. It’s okay if you find it difficult to say – several of our longtime members seem to have difficulty pronouncing it as well (but we’re not going to change it).

Who are you guys?

In the early 1980s, author and pioneer kayaker Audrey Sutherland began teaching courses in ocean kayaking at the University of Hawaii’s School of Continuing Education (adult ed). Many of her former students bought inflatable kayaks and continued to call each other for weekend paddles long after “graduation,” and finally decided to get organized as a club. The first meeting was in the UH Lecture Hall in May, 1982, when Mark Rognstad was elected first president (he thought of the name, it’s his fault), and we continued to meet at UH until they discovered that nobody was still actually a registered student there any more, and we had to move on. After a brief stint at the Liliha State Library, we met for many years at the Second Floor at the notorious Anna Bannana’s Bar, until our move to our long-time digs at Church Of The Crossroads in 1995.

Our members range from students (real ones) to professors, fishermen, architects, surfers, lawyers, carpenters, and a few old retired fuddy-duddies that can still keep up with, and occasionally lead, the pack. Our youngest active member to date was 12 years old and one couple took their 6-month-old daughter on day paddles with regularity. Members have brought back slide shows of their adventures kayaking in Fiji, Tahiti, Palau, Alaska, New Zealand, the San Juan Islands, Ireland, Chile and Italy. We have a few members who are in military service, and a couple of out-of-state residents who seem to like to spend their winters kayaking in Hawaii rather than shoveling snow in Canada or wherever (go figure).

How are you ..umm.. organized?

The Hui is registered in the State of Hawaii as a Not-For-Profit Corporation, for liability reasons that should be obvious. As such, we have a President (some years we have two), Vice President, Secretary and a Treasurer, elected each year in October by the membership. The Officers then nominate, wheedle or draft up to 12 “volunteers” to form the Steerage Board who in turn elect a Chairperson for one year. From this group are formed a number of special committees that oversee things like fishing tournaments and T-shirt sales. At least once a year, this motley group convenes to thrash out the entire year’s paddling and event schedule, which is then published on this site. If you think the resultant schedule is interesting and well-thought-out, you should not watch this process.