University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
For Immediate Release:
February 7, 2001
Susan Yugawa, (808) 974-7571
|World renowned astronomer donates two canoes to UH Hilo|
The University of Hawai`i at Hilo dedicated two new fiberglass racing canoes at Hilo Bay with a traditional Hawaiian blessing. An $18,000 gift given to the University by astronomer Dr. Keiichi Kodaira and his wife Uta funded the canoes.
UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng noted how the gift of the canoes brings the astronomy and UH Hilo communities closer together, as well as providing the Canoe Club more opportunities for community outreach.
"I thank Keiichi and Uta Kodaira for their generosity," said Tseng. "Just seeing here today the good connections between the Hawaiian culture and the Japanese culture, where we can all learn together and collaborate together, I can see how very blessed we are with this gift of the canoes."
Following the presentation of a commemorative paddle from the Canoe Club, Dr. Kodaira explained his motivation for the gift.
"There is such a beautiful culture here," he said. "I wanted to do something that would help bring about a deeper collaboration between the University and the people from Mauna Kea [astronomy community].
"I am fascinated with both the night sky and the magnificent ocean," Kodaira further explained, "and I wanted to share that feeling [with this gift]. My dream has been realized through the collaboration of many people, and I would like to thank our friends: the Canoe Club members and the University administration."
Ikaika Dombrigues, kahuna nui pali tu, performed the traditional ceremony, assisted by 1999 UH Hilo graduate Roxan Stewart. Dombrigues blessed the two new canoes, Mele O Ke Kai (Song of the Ocean) and Makana Aloha (Gift of Aloha), as well as other UH Hilo canoes, the canoe house, paddles and each member of the Canoe Club.
The gathering also included members of the UH Hilo faculty and staff, and several families from the Subaru telescope community.
Dr. Kodaira is the former director of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (1994-2000) and was instrumental in the development of the Subaru Telescope observatory atop Mauna Kea.
Both avid sailors and paddlers, the Kodairas joined club members in the new canoes and paddled into Hilo Bay to make traditional Hawaiian offerings and scatter ti leis in the water.