Updated: November 29, 2023
The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea welcomed canoe teams from sister properties in Bora Bora and Hawaiʻi, as well as local Maui crews for an outrigger canoe paddle called “Molokini Kaʻapunui.” The cultural gathering on Saturday, March 11, was timed to celebrate the end of Makahiki season.
The event brought together an extended ‘ohana bound together by the love of the sport and shared waterways that brought the early migration of Polynesians to Hawaiՙi.
The Wailea resort has been marking the end of Makahiki—a time of joy and prayer for the prosperity of land, abundance of harvest, and good health for family—in this way since 2018, when their colleagues at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora visited them for a friendly race and celebration.
They visited again in 2019, before the global pandemic put a hold on the festivities.
This year, the gathering is back and bigger than ever. Joining Four Seasons Resort Maui and Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora were sister properties Four Seasons Resort Lānaʻi and Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.
Also participating were Maui-based crews from North Shore Renegades, Nā Kai Ewalu, Laeʻula O Kai, Kīhei Canoe Club, and Hawaiian Canoe Club. A special mahalo goes out to Wailea Canoe Club and Kīhei Canoe Club for lending canoes for the event.
Molokini Kaʻapuni commenced after opening ceremonies, including a pre-race oli led by Four Seasons Resort Maui Director of Hawaiian Programs “Aunty Wendy” Tuivaioge and Kumu Sharon Balidoy of Laeʻula O Kai, and words from Four Seasons Regional Vice President and General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Charlie Parker, as well as others.
This year there were two courses, one for all men and, for the first year, one for mixed crews, each started at Wailea Beach, at 8 a.m. and 8:05 a.m. respectively. The men’s 13-mile route headed north for approximately 1.5 miles then turned to continue onto and around Molokini before heading back to the Wailea Beach finish line. The mixed crews’ 10-mile route headed straight to Molokini, circling the small island before heading back to the finish line.
“Molokini is known as the place of many connections. As we kaʻapuni (go around) her, we were once again connected as paddlers,” explains Assistant Director of Grounds & Landscaping and event co-organizer Kevin Gavagan. “On three separate occasions (2018, 2019 and this year), our brothers and sisters from Bora Bora have joined us to connect through this event. This year, we are excited to increase our connections to an additional six canoe clubs and look forward to continuing to grow this event in the years to come.”
After the race, the participants joined together for a local-style paʻina, with a Tahitian flare—Team Four Seasons Bora Bora prepareed Tahiti’s national dish, poisson cru, and the visiting women of Tahiti performed for the crowd. During the post-race party, winning teams were presented with awards for placing in the race.
The results are below.
- 1st Hawaiian Canoe Club 1:21:30
- 2nd Laeʻula O Kai
- 3rd Kīhei Canoe Club 1:25:48
- North Shore Renegades 1:33:20
- Four Seasons Resort Maui Blue 1:34:20
- Four Seasons Resort Maui White 1:35:34
- Four Seasons Resort Hualalai 1:42:20
- Four Seasons Resort Lānaʻi 1:51:00
- 1st Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora men 1:38:30
- 2nd Nā Kai Ewalu 1:45:58