Kai 'Ehitu Outrigger Team
Ia Ora Na Tatou,
Bernard Pierre Kimitete well known as "Papa or Papi" was born in Hatiheu Nuku-Hiwa, Marquesas Islands on September 25,1940. His parents Joseph Utunaiki and Adelaide Kimitete were also from Nuku-Hiwa Marquesas Islands. Papa was raised in Pape'ete, Tahiti where he learned the art of woodcarving under the guardianship of his father, renowned Master Legend woodcarver. His father's artifacts can be found in museums, churches, homes of famous actors & actress celebrities, royal families, hotels and prominent sites throughout the world.
Like his father, his love for the art is evident in each piece that is created like the large stone Ti'i carving of a woman and two children located in the
Tahitian and Marquesas Village of the Polynesian Cultural Center in La'ie, O'ahu. The image of the ti'i is his beautiful wife Augustine and their two sons, Robert and Richard completed back in the early 1960's.
In the early years, the Polynesian Cultural Center commissioned Joseph Kimitete to craft his exclusive woodcarving in their brand new Tahitian Village. Joseph and his wife Adelaide arrived in Hawai'i where his first "Hawaiian" roots were planted through his beautiful carvings. In 1962, Pierre "Papa" and his wife Augustine "Mama", and their three sons Robert, Richard and Teiki arrived in Hawai'i to get settled into their new place that they will call home. Together as a family, they built a Tahitian Village filled with canoes, paddles, tiki, murals, spears, to'ere; pahu drums and continuously expressed their love for their culture through their daily examples. When the village was completed, Joseph and Adelaide returned back to Tahiti. It was Hawaii's great fortune that Pierre "Papa", Augustine "Mama" and their family decided to remain in Hawai'i to help manage the Tahitian Village at the Polynesian Cultural Center. He continued to master the art of woodcarving and thus began his own legacy in the isles of Hawai'i.
While in La'ie, O'ahu,"Papa" and "Mama" contributed greatly to
the success of the Polynesian Cultural Center. However, due to his distinguished
reputation as master woodcarver, Papa was commissioned to design art
pieces for the newly built Ka'upulehu, Kona Village Resort on the Kohala, Coast
Hawai'i Island. Then in l97l, it was then that he moved his entire family to
Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i which eventually became there permanent place of residence.
In his wonderful home of Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i, "Papa" not only created beautiful
pieces of art, but also created a lifetime of learning for thousands of youth and
adults by forming his own 'Ohana Canoe Club, KAI 'EHITU. With his whole 'ohana
involved with their canoe club, he spent countless hours carving these wa'a, 'iako,
ama, wae, hoe and giving more of himself by teaching everyone in the canoe club
valuable life skills such as hard work, perseverance, the importance of setting and
attaining goals, and always fulfilling one's dreams. "Papa" built several koa canoes
in his life and today we have two (2) of his original koa canoes that is still with us.
1) "HEIPUALANI" which is named after there two daughters: Healani and Puamaile
2) "VAI TIARE" which means: The fresh waters of the Tiare blossom
On October 05, 2002 Bernard Pierre "Papa" or "Papi", as he was affectionately known,
left us to prepare his ultimate halau and is still teaching and paddling through the
next life in true Tahitian Style. "Papa's" purpose of forming Kai 'Ehitu, is to make
sure his wife"Mama", children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will have a
foundation here in Hawai'i and to make sure his 'Ohana and extended 'Ohana
will always call Kai 'Ehitu home.
Today, the Kai 'Ehitu Outrigger Team and lives on through his wonderful
'Ohana, his lovely wife Augustine "Mama", children, grandchildren and
Papa, Robert & Richard Kimitete. Polynesian Cultural Center
(In front of the Tahitian Village. Laie, HI. Island of Oahu 1964)
Mama Kimitete Cheering on Kai 'Ehitu paddlers at
a Kailua-Kona Regatta. Early 1980's
Papa and Mama Kimitete at the end of a Keoua Canoe Club long distance race held in the mid 1980's. Va'a Pictured: Maeha'a & Hono'ura
Bernard Pierre Kimitete- One of only few Tahitian Va'a (canoe) builders able to give HA- (Breath of Life) to each vessel
Kai 'Ehitu History