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KaʻAuwaʻa o Nā Kālai Waʻa

The term ʻAuwaʻa in Hawaiian refers to a fleet of canoes. Here is the ʻAuwaʻa of Nā Kālai Waʻa


Makaliʻi is a 54-foot waʻa kaulua (double-hulled voyaging canoe). She has a single mast rig and calls Kawaihae her

home port.  Makaliʻi was a dream of NKW founder Clay Bertelmann.  It took nine months to construct Makaliʻi in a Parker Ranch’s Quonset hut located in Waimea.   On February 4, 1995, the canoe was launched with a ceremony in Kawaihae. Sea trials were quickly conducted and Makaliʻi left Hawaiʻi on her maiden voyage to Tahiti in March of the same year.  Since her first voyage, Makaliʻi has been used as an educational tool in our communities for programs like the DOE ʻImiloa Student Leadership Program, Nā Pua Noʻeau’s Kupulau Program, Kamehameha Schools Kulia i ka Pono Summer Enrichment Program as well as so many more.



Mauloa is a 4 man outrigger fishing canoe made completely out of natural materials and in the customary processes of Hawaiʻi.  Mauloa was first constructed in 1991 by Clayton Bertelmann, Tava Taupu, and many others under the supervision of Papa Mau. The purpose of her construction was to prepare these canoe builders in the customary practices of kālai waʻa. Upon successful completion of this canoe, they were given the blessing of the communities’ Kūpuna to build the Makaliʻi voyaging canoe.  The construction of Mauloa began in the upland regions of Keauhou Forest, one of the few places where koa logs were still found large enough for canoe construction. After several ceremonies, the rough-hewn log was brought down to Hōnaunau where the men carved Mauloa using only customary tools, koʻi (adze), coral and stone abraders, pitch made from kukui and ʻulu sap, ʻaha (coconut sennit rope), and other native materials.  She was launched on the beach of Hōnaunau in 1991 and has been used as a tool for education since.



Hōkūliʻiliʻi is 16 foot long double-hulled coastal sailing canoe. The hulls were designed and constructed by Tiger Espere and the canoe was assembled by the students of Waimea Middles School under the leadership of Clay Bertelmann and guidance of Tiger. Since her construction in 1997 Hōkūliʻiliʻi has been used an educational tool around the island of Hawaiʻi.

Aligano Maisu

Aligano Maisu is a 57-foot double-hulled voyaging canoe

built like Makaliʻi, in a traditional fashion using modern material.  

She was built through the Kū Holo Mau Project as a gift for

Papa Mau Piaulug and his people so that they could continue

to sustain their navigation practices throughout Micronesia.

Her maiden voyage was in 2007 to Micronesia from Hawaiʻi.

On board were the crew from Nā Kālai Waʻa, Polynesian Voyaging Society, Te Toki Voyaging Trust, and ʻohana from Micronesia. She was also accompanied on this voyage by Hōkūleʻa and her crew. Aligano Maisu is currently captained

by Pwo Sesario Sewralur, Papa Mau’s son.



Kānehūnāmoku is a double-hulled coastal sailing canoe that was born in Hakipuʻu, Koʻolaupoko.  She currently continues the educational legacy of Nā Kālai Waʻa through several programs

on Oʻahu from Field Trip Friends to DOE School Sails. 


Alakaʻi is a 28 foot Radon that was donated to Nā Kālai Waʻa. She is used primarily as an escort vessel for Nā Kālai Waʻa's fleet of canoes. Escort vessels' primary duties are to ensure the safety of the canoes and their crew during sails, whether coastal or long distance. Due to the size and design of Alakaʻi, she is the perfect escort for our vessels both along our coast as well as through our rough channels.

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