‘Recalling Hawaii’ Is A Message Of Pride, Hope

Mo‘olele sailing off Maui | Photos courtesy Hui O Wa‘a Kaulua

She wears many different hats and wears them all quite well. Sharon Balidoy is a canoe paddler, a kumu hula, a social worker and a lead musician. But it’s her title of hula instructor that will take center stage in an upcoming production.

Ka’imi Na’auao o Hawai’i Nei will host Recalling Hawaii Nov. 9 at Hawaii Theatre. Balidoy’s mother, Roselle Lindsey Bailey of Maui, created the program.

“I think the message in Recalling Hawaii is one of pride and hope for humanity,” says Balidoy. “We start in the time of po, in darkness, and journey through an appreciation of nature, from sunrise to sunset, from the ocean to the heavens and clouds to the honua the earth, through songs, chants, hula.”

One of its main numbers in the program is a song about Maui’s voyaging canoe Mo’olele, which was composed by Balidoy’s grandfather Edwin “Ned” Lindsey Sr. and recorded by the Makaha Sons of Niihau.

“My grandpa oversaw the blessing of Mo’olele at Kaanapali and during those years and for many more to follow, Mo’olele stayed at home with us at my grandparents home in Lahaina,” she says proudly. “We kids became caretakers of it. After a big rain, we would all have to go and check the hulls and the canvas and make sure to bail out all the water.”

Mo’olele is a beautiful 42-foot wa’a kaulua (double-hulled canoe) owned by Hui O Wa’a Kaulua. The vessel is currently being used as a training tool for future sailors. But her worth reaches far beyond the sailing and paddling community.

“I think one of the fondest memories of sailing Mo’olele was when our hula halau went to Lanai for a week of camping and exploring,” says Balidoy, a social worker at the Queen Lili’uokalani Children’s Center in Wailuku and Lahaina. “Some went on the ferry, while the rest of us got to sail on Mo’olele. We were greeted so grandly on Lanai and pushed Mo’olele up onto the beach on the backs of coconut fronds. Everyone was so happy and it made me think, wow, this is what my kupuna did and how they saw the island. It makes you feel like you are in another time period.”

Balidoy started paddling at the age of 10 and continues to compete at a high level 42 years later. She recalls a valuable lesson taught to her when she was in the fifth grade.

“My aunty was my first coach, and she made me get the broom and she showed me how to paddle,” laughs Balidoy. “Little did I know that at 10 I was multi-tasking, perfecting my paddling stroke and sweeping the lanai clean at the same time.”

She and husband Ricky co-founded Lae ‘Ula o Kai Canoe Club and continue to serve as co-head coaches. And while their already busy lives can be even more hectic with their coaching responsibilities, she says the ocean provides her with balance and serves as a reminder of what’s important.

“Sometimes when we’re training we just have to stop and take a moment to acknowledge and admire the beauty that surrounds us,” she says. “Recalling Hawaii is sort of the same experience. We must take a moment to stop our busy lives, put down the devices and admire and appreciate all that nature has given us and acknowledge who we are. Every time I go through the program, I learn a little more, my appreciation for those before me is deepened and I am grateful. I always say it is in my blood; we come from the sea.”

For more information on “Recalling Hawaii,” go to facebook.com/KaImiNaauaoOHawaiiNei.