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Koa, the Warrior Tree
by Dr. Sam Gon III, Director of Science

The kahuna kalai wa`a (canoe specialist) moved slowly through the upland forest of Honomalino on the southwestern flank of Mauna Loa.

He was searching, with his small group of assistants, for the ideal koa wa`a, a koa tree with all of the properties needed for a voyaging canoe (wa`a). Such a tree would have to be of the correct size, density, and strength to serve on the thousand-mile voyages over the open Pacific. Too light, and its overall strength might not equal the storms that sweep across the ocean. Too dense, and its weight would be a detriment, progress would be too slow, and it would be prone to swamping.

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