‘Ohana has always been the foundation of Hawaiian society and culture. In a traditional setting, a family is bound together in blood and spirit, with unquestioned commitment o each other and to the ‘ohana as an institution. Any institution possessing such strength in unity will not hesitate to embark on the most hazardous of journeys in pursuit of the loftiest of goals.

What is it then that makes up an ‘ohana? While the common design of the nuclear family is comprised of father, mother and children, the extended family will also include aunties, uncles, cousins and close family friends. There are keiki, makua and the most precious kupuna. There is a structure, and there is an organized hierarchy. There is strength in numbers and there is mana in being family, the ‘ohana nui.

We at Hawaiian Canoe Club make up a huge ‘ohana nui. We have evolved from a membership of ten or so, who in the 1960s paddled exclusively in koa canoes, to a membership that has swelled to numbers in the hundreds.

It is the nature of Hawaiians to sail beyond horizons, pushing the envelope of exploration and discovery, and Hawaiian Canoe Club will always kulia i ka nu‘u, strive for the summit. In or out of the water, HCC will continue to make headlines, but we can’t do it without you. Our most precious resource is not made of concrete, fiberglass, or koa. The hearts, minds, and muscles of each individual member will always be the critical component of satisfaction and success.

To truly become a member of this ‘ohana nui, there can be no compromise in the acceptance of such responsibilities. You must accept your kulana (status) and kuleana (responsibility). Through your association with Hawaiian Canoe Club you assume a role and responsibility in the realization of our vision. Do you commit to this shared vision? Are you willing to assume your place in the ‘ohana, regardless of your self-perceived rank in the hierarchy? Will you trust in the hearts and abilities of everyone in your crew? Will you have faith in your leaders and trust in the wisdom of their decisions? Will you do your best to be part of our ‘ohana?

Remember that no person is more important than the next, just as no seat is more vital than the next. There are six seats in a canoe. Without one, there is no crew. You must have confidence that each person in your crew is doing their best. In front of you, behind you; there must be no doubt in your mind that everyone in the wa‘a is pulling his or her own weight, as you also must put forth your best. You must trust in the knowledge of your coaches. Know that their decisions are made with thought, and that what is decided is always for the benefit of the club as a whole.

Finally and most importantly, you must accept each and every member of this club as family. We nurture each other. We work, we play, and we laugh with each other.


‘O – ‘Oia‘i‘o – genuine, sincere, truth

H – Ha‘aha‘a – humility

A – Aloha – friendship, love

N – Na‘au pono – right-minded, upright, just

A – Alaka‘i – lead, guide, direct