Lāhainā is a historic whaling village that has now become a Maui ‘hot spot’. The town was once known as ‘Lele’, meaning ‘relentless sun’ and was the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the early nineteenth century.
Lāhainā is home to Hui O Wa’a Kaulua (The Assembly of the Double Hull Canoe in Hawaiian), Maui’s Voyaging Society. The society is a non-profit organisation that was formed in 1975 to practice, perpetuate and educate the community on Hawaiian canoe building, wayfinding and voyaging arts.
Visitors can learn about the history of the society and how traditional Hawaiian canoes are built. Mo’olele, meaning ‘leaping lizard’, a 42 foot Hawaiian double hull sailing canoe that was built in 1975, is on display outside. This canoe has sailed the Hawaiian islands and served as a floating classroom for several decades.
Lāhainā is also home to Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani, meaning ‘The Sacred Lizard of Maui’. This 62 foot, double-hulled voyaging canoe waited 17 years to touch the water for the first time. On the 11th of July 2014 she was finally launched and became a living classroom for the youth of Hawaii and the community of Maui.