Famous Hawaiian Koa canoe builder seeks public’s help in solving a crime

Bobby Puakea
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Bobby Puakea
Bobby Puakea

KANEOHE – A well-known native Hawaiian koa wood canoe builder is asking for the public’s help in solving a crime.

Bobbie Puakea, who heads the Puakea Foundation, makes koa canoes for several canoe halaus throughout the state.


On Thursday, all the rare koa wood he had finished for a canoe he was building for Honolulu Pearls canoe club, was stolen from his workshop in Heeia State Park. The wood pieces were about 4 feet long.

Bobby Puakea teaches people of all ages how to make their own canoe paddles
Bobby Puakea teaches people of all ages how to make their own canoe paddles

He was building a replacement canoe for Honolulu Pearls Canoe Club. The club lost its koa canoe at Nanakuli beach park when it shattered after a crash landing on the beach at the conclusion of a race.

His son John Puakea, a well known paddler and boat maker, explained “Koa canoes are what our ancestors used to fish, travel, and play in. It’s part of our heritage and where we come from culturally in Hawaii. I grew up with Koa canoes in my yard, with my father and grandfather working side by side building and rebuilding them. Sometimes I just have to ask myself, what’s going on here. Do people really forget that we should hold on to our roots, what we are taught, and the that we should all respect and support one another.”

Anyone with information about incident, please contact the Puakea Foundation at (808) 247-1428 or or the Honolulu police department at 9-1-1.





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