Smithsonian Voices

From the Smithsonian Museums

Hawai'i’s Women Canoe Carvers

In Hawai'i, the art of carving outrigger canoes has traditionally been a male pursuit. Many women have captained and paddled the canoes, but few have learned to build them—an undertaking that requires carving a vessel of 25 feet or more out of a massive tree trunk. In an effort to bring a new wave of women into the trade, the Smithsonian recently organized a canoe carving workshop in Hilo, Hawai'i, as part of the annual Merrie Monarch Festival celebrating Hawaiian culture.