Casino Night Will Fuel Park’s Koa Canoe Plan

Koa canoe maker Robert Puakea Jr.

A Casino Night party April 13 at He’eia State Park may be just the touch needed to upgrade and secure the park’s longtime koa canoe program and hale, run for years by Robert Puakea Jr.

A Kaneohe resident and award-winning canoe coach, “Uncle Bobby” redesigns and repairs canoes daily at the park and is a strong advocate of the koa canoe tradition. Armed with a recent “seed money” grant of $60,000 from the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, the program is poised to build the Puakea Learning Center on the park grounds and share its knowledge with the Windward side.

The nonprofit Puakea Foundation of Hawaii will sponsor a Casino Night from 4 to 9 p.m. April 13 at the park, featuring silent and live auctions of native artistry, gift cards, shows and services; plus raffles, blackjack, roulette, craps and bingo.

Entertainment includes Manoa Madness, Na Palapalai and Holunape, and guests will be treated to locally sourced pupus by Gooch and Friends (chef Mark Noguchi).

Tickets cost $60 and include one drink and 50 “Bobby Bucks” to get started at the casino tables. They can be ordered online at, or call 247-1428, 342-5262 or email

Donations to the foundation also are welcome by mail at P.O. Box 1799, Kailua, HI 96734.