Canoe racing, makahiki games at the Ala Wai Challenge - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Canoe racing, makahiki games at the Ala Wai Challenge

Honolulu, HI – Twenty-five years ago Waikiki Community Center was looking for a fundraising event and through the help of the Waikiki Jaycees, they helped create the Ala Wai Challenge that was held at the new Hawaii Convention Center, then Aloha Motors. Since then the Annual Ala Wai Challenge will hold its 25th Anniversary on Sunday, January 24, 2010, from 8:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. at the Ala Wai Neighborhood Park and Clubhouse. The Ala Wai Challenge is a fun filled community event for Hawaii residents and visitors featuring outrigger canoe racing and ancient Hawaiian Makahiki games. This cultural event showcases how the Hawaiian people competed in these unique sport games that can only be found in Hawaii.

Each year the event honors two living water sports legends of Hawaii. The 2010 honorees are Hannie Anderson and Tay Perry. Hannie is one of the founders and race director of Na Wahine O Ke Kai, race commissioner, Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association, and past president of OHCRA. Tay is a master builder and restorer of koa canoes, paddled 44 Moloka'i Hoe, and VP of Friends of Hokule'a and Hawai'iloa. Both are legendary canoe paddlers, and have perpetuated the legacy of native Hawaiian canoe racing in the community.

The Ala Wai Challenge is made possible through generous community support and presenting sponsor Hawaiian Electric Company. Two co-ed teams comprised of employees from across the company are practicing to compete in this year's challenge and top their second place category win from last year. In addition to the canoe races and Makahiki games, the event also features a variety of handmade Hawaiian crafts, free entertainment, food vendors, fun activities to learn how to create a ‘green" and sustainable community and the traditional hand pounding poi. Participants can also make their own smoothies by peddling a bicycle powered blender, also Friends of Hokule'a and Hawai'iloa will demonstrate building an outrigger canoe (hands-on). Children can make and participate in ancient Hawaiian land games while you can experience authentic "Lomi lomi" (Hawaiian massage). Admission to the event is free for residents and visitors.

The outrigger canoe race is a ¼ mile race along the Ala Wai Canal, which is open to all skill levels. The race is a double elimination, having winners and consolation brackets so all teams race twice.

The Hawaiian games feature the ‘Ulu Maika (bowling a round stone through pegs), O'o Ihe (spear throwing), Moa Pahe'e (dart sliding), Pohaku Ho'oikaika (stone throw) and Huki Kaula (tug of war). This is one of the few events on Oahu where you can experience the ancient sports of Hawaiian culture known as Makahiki.

The event kick offs with a double-hulled canoe procession, in oli' (chant) and Kahiko (ancient hula and song) by Hula Halau Ka Liko O Ka Palai and Kumu Hula Ainsley Halemanu.

Waikiki Community Center
25th Annual Ala Wai Challenge
Sunday, January 24, 2010
8:00am – 1:00pm
Ala Wai Neighborhood Park and Clubhouse


8:00 am

  • Official Welcome and Blessing
  • Double-Hulled Canoe Procession

9:00 am

  • Canoe Races Start
  • Kou Tree planting dedication
  • Makahiki Games Start
  • Hawaiian Farmers Market and Food Open
  • Free Hawaiian Entertainment begins

12:00 pm

  • Completion of Canoe Races and Games
  • Begin Huki Kaula (tug of war) Event

12:30 pm

  • Award Presentations

Parking will be located in the surrounding neighborhood and at nearby parking structures such as ‘Iolani School at 563 Kamoku St., Tokai University at 2241 Kapiolani Boulevard, and Ala Wai Community Park at 2015 Kapiolani Boulevard. From Waikiki, you have a variety of options. The organizers have set up the famous "Canoe Taxi Service" in specially marked double-hulled canoes. Look for the "Canoe Taxi Service" pick-up at Ala Wai Blvd. and Olohana Street.

The Waikiki Community Center provides a variety of services to the people of Waikiki, including an Early Childhood Education Center; physical, social, and educational activities as well as counseling and case management of older adults, a food pantry for the homeless, and a variety other needed services. The mission of the center is to enrich and improve the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of the diverse people of Waikiki through multigenerational on-site and outreach programs and social services. Together, with its on-site partner agencies, the center serves approximately 15,000 people each year.

Since 1978, the center has been meeting the diverse needs of Waikiki's children, seniors and families. Other special events will follow throughout the year, including a signature gala event honoring the Waikiki Community Center and the Treasures of Waikiki on August 21, 2010. Waikiki Community Center celebrates 32 years of service in March 2010 and the Ala Wai Challenge will serve as the official kick off.

For more information about the Ala Wai Challenge or the Waikiki Community Center, please call 923-1802 or visit their website at

Powered by Frankly