Celebrating 21 Years Of Makaliʻi

he wa`a he moku, he moku he wa`a

Na Kalai Waa is an education-based 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the maintenance of cultural values and customs through the teaching and application of non-instrument navigation and open-ocean voyaging.
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"He wa'a he moku, he moku he wa'a."

Hawaiian Crab Claw Sail Petroglyph

  "He waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻa" simply translates to "The canoe is our island, and the island is our canoe."
Clay Bertelmann, founder of Na Kālai Waʻa, uttered these words when explaining the unique holistic nature of wa'a practices and how they relate to us individually and as a larger community. Simply put, what we do on land like we do on the canoe.


  This is the vision of Nā Kālai Waʻa and the foundation of our work with our  communities.


ʻOhana Makaliʻi

Shorty and the Wahine Aukai of Makalii - Ku Holo Mau

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.

"...kini kini..."  Thousand, Thousand

 A voyaging caMakalii canoe and the Mahoenoe is a maritime parallel to the  kauhale (village) system of Hawaiʻi. The success of a canoe depends on all kūlana (roles) of society. Crew consist of lawaiʻa (fishermen), mahiʻai (farmers), kahuna pule (priests), kahuna noeʻau (craftsmen), aliʻi (leaders), and makaʻāinana (the people). The canoe presents a platform for individuals to practice their cultural lifestyle in a synergetic way. This is what makes Makaliʻi programs unique; each individual is celebrated for what they can contribute to the whole 'ohana. We are the village. What we do to survive on land, we do to survive on the canoe.

It's easy to join our ʻohana, our community. Become a volunteer, bring your school, group or organization down to visit Makaliʻi or any of our other waʻa, canoes. It just takes a little aloha.

Waʻa Happenings

Oiwi TV helps to capture Makalii and our crew

Mahalo a nui loa to Oiwi TV and the crew that has worked tirelessly to help capture our culture, traditions and activities across the state from the opening of the new hale for ke kōleke o Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani to the documenting of Hōkūleʻa's WWV and our activities at Makaliʻi. Check out this cool video clip along with others at Oiwi TV: http://www.oiwi.tv/article/makalii-crew/ Read more >>
Malama Makalii 2014 Event Shirt Mock Ups

Support the Mālama Makaliʻi Ocean Festival

Help support the Mālama Makaliʻi Ocean Festival with your purchase of a Mālama Makaliʻi Ocean Festival Event shirt or a Mālama Makaliʻi Hydroflask. Event shirts are printed on Patagonia Men's Longsleeve Capilene shirts. Hydraflask come in the 40 oz size. This year's Mālama Makaliʻi event shirt comes in grass green. Pre-order are being taken till Monday February 10, 2014. Visit our online store to... Read more >>
Pwo Chadd Paishon Navigating Aligano Maisu.

Pwo Chadd Paishon to Sail Hikianalia Home to Hawai'i on Maiden Voyage

Pwo Chadd Paishon, Sr. Captain of Nā Kālai Waʻa and Makaliʻi, will be departing on October 27, 2012 to Tahiti to assist the Captain and crew of Hikianalia home to Hawaiʻi. Hikianalia is the newest vessel in our Hawaiʻi fleet of canoes. She will be accompanying Hōkūleʻa on their World Wide Voyage that is currently set to launch in June, 2012. "Being given Pwo is a responsibility to share your... Read more >>
Captain Clay Bertelmann on Makalii

Cowboys and Canoes

In the 1970s, two brothers from a paniolo family in Waimea fell in love with a double-hulled voyaging canoe, a man with the vision of our ancestors and a dream for our future. Clay Bertelmann and his brother Shorty Bertelmann would spend the next 20 years of their lives, sailing the Pacific with Papa Mau Piailug on Hōkūleʻa. In the early 1990s, Clay found himself with a new dream, a dream about a... Read more >>

Nā Kālai Wa`a Contact Information

address: P.O. Box 748, Kamuela, HI 96743

office: Waimea Office Center, 65-1206 Mamalahoa Hwy, Building 1, Room 11, Kamuela, HI 96743

phone: 808-885-9500     fax: 808-887-1144     facebook: facebook.com/nakalaiwaa