REPORT FROM OHA – HONOLULU – The Na Wahine O Ke Kai Race Committee, producers of the 2014 Hawaiian Airlines Na Wahine O Ke Kai Molokai to Oahu Canoe Race, announced today that it will receive $4,000 from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), Ahahui Community grant.
This race is considered the world championship of outrigger canoe racing which unites paddlers from all walks of life and brings them together as one. The participants, of which 70% are native Hawaiian and 80% are from the State of Hawaii, will come together to strengthen their identity, to preserve, practice and perpetuate their culture, on Sunday, September 21, 2014.
This prestigious outrigger canoe race has grown nationally and internationally, attracting crews from Hong Kong, Japan, United Kingdom, California, Tahiti, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The race is 41 miles across the treacherous Kaiwi channel, beginning at Hale O Lono Harbor on Molokai and ending at Duke Kahanamoku Beach fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village at Waikiki.
Na Wahine O Ke Kai (Women of the Sea) was founded in February of 1979. The canoe race has flourished through the years because of the tireless efforts of race supporters, volunteers, and paddlers. Through their endurance, devotion and sponsorship they have helped to perpetuate Hawaii’s cultural heritage.
“Our love for this race is deep, because it represents the power and potential of women,” said Hanne Anderson, race director of Na Wahine O ke Kai. “To put on this race year after year, for a total of 36 years, is a tremendous team effort by the entire race committee. We set out to create a movement for the sport of women’s paddling and we did it. This race and the women who come back every year to participate are a testament to that.
We are honored to have the Office of Hawaiian Affairs(OHA) as a sponsor this year. The grant exemplifies OHA’s commitment to malama (protect) Hawaii’s people , towards ensuring the perpetuation of the culture. This grant will help with the cost of hauling the canoes from Kaunakakai Harbor to Hale O Lono Harbor on Molokai.”
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is a unique, independent state agency established through the Hawaii State Constitution and statutes to advocate for the betterment of conditions of all Native Hawaiians, with a Board of Trustees elected by the voters of Hawaii. OHA is guided by a vision and mission to ensure the perpetuation of the culture, to protect the entitlements of Native Hawaiians, and to build a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation. For more information visit www.oha.org.