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Work starts on 'floating classroom'

LAIE, Hawaii — Imported logs were dedicated March 3 during a traditional gathering for the construction of a double-hulled canoe to be used as a floating classroom in BYU-Hawaii's Hawaiian Studies Program.

"It is a very significant occasion. It connects us together with our sacred past," BYU-Hawaii President Eric B. Shumway said of the logs' dedication. "Even though this is a dedication for a Hawaiian canoe it's an event that celebrates all of Polynesia."

The tradition of sea voyaging is common to all Polynesian cultures.

Master carvers Tuione Pulotu and Kawika Eskaran will carve the Fijian dakua logs, which arrived in February.

Brother Pulotu is also recognized for his work in carving a 105-foot double-hulled canoe for the Kingdom of Tonga. The carving will take place in an open area at the Naniloa Site, adjacent to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Community members and visitors to the Polynesian Cultural Center will be able to view the canoe during the carving process. The carving is expected to take several months.