Grant life to our canoe,May it live till it is aged, worn out,
And the algae cling to its sides.
Grant prosperity to our canoe, Till it is aged and worn out.
May this be the life gift from you, Amama, the prayer is freed to wing on its way.
from a Hawaiian canoe launching prayer
Timeless Craft: Building Mauloa
TIMELESS CRAFT documents three generations of Pacific Islanders — from Micronesia, Hawai’i and the Marquesas — as they construct a coastal outrigger sailing canoe using traditional tools, methods and materials. The film weaves an atmosphere of quiet beauty and reverence. No visible trappings of the modern world appear in the unfolding scenes that evoke pre-contact Polynesia, a time when master carvers sharpened their rudimentary tools on whetstones and crafted vessels that carried them to neighboring islands and to the far corners of the Pacific.
The building of Mauloa was filmed in semi-slow motion. The altered speed and golden images that unfold on the screen create a unique sense of timelessness. Nothing of the modern world exists in the footage - no power tools, t-shirts or sunglasses. All of the scenes evoke pre-contact Polynesia; from sharpening the stone adzes on a whetstone, to staining the koa hull with kukui nut oil. This method of filming carries viewers back to the time when the ancestors of today's Polynesians crafted their canoes with grace and artistry, while respecting solemn ritual and ancient tradition.