2011 Heartland Film FestivalRating: 4.5 of 5 yaps

Family of the Wa’a

“Family of the Wa’a” is a beautiful story about not only keeping family traditions alive but overcoming all obstacles to complete a goal. It is a story of friendship and teamwork.

The film begins with Kimokeo telling the story of a promise that he made to his uncle Kavika.  Years before Kimokeo began his journey, his uncle Kavika sailed from Hawaii to Tahiti in a double-hulled canoe. He did it as a continuation of an ancient Hawaiian tradition of canoe paddling. Before he died, he asked Kimokeo to take up his mantle and to continue his trip, and thus the story begins of Kimokeo bringing together a team of long-distance rowers to complete the journey.

“Family of the Wa’a” is a great story not because of the journey but because of the people that are taking it. On the surface, each member of the team is doing it because Kimokeo has asked them to do. But by the end, each one of them continues the journey for their own personal reasons. That is what makes this documentary so interesting because it is so relatable.  Anyone and everyone can think of a time that they started something for nothing but found finishing the task to become something more.

Kendall, one of the crew members, was actually battling cancer as he prepared for this journey, and his story is one of the most interesting. One brief scene is probably one of the strongest of the whole film. Before the beginning of their journey, he goes to his doctor to collect his treatments and he tells his doctor, “I know you told me that I shouldn’t row, that I should save my energy to fight the cancer unless it’s something I want to do before I die.” This state of mind shows how important this trip is to this crew.

This film is a great film to watch and really shows that the human spirit can conquer anything if we just put our minds to it. I think anyone who watches this film will get the confidence to try and finish his or her own goals.

4.5 Yaps


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