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Friends and family say final aloha to pioneer in reconstructing Hokulea

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Friends, family, students, and former crew members said their final aloha to the co-founder of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Ben Finney was a pioneer in the reconstruction and sailing of Hokulea.

"In the journey of his life, he traveled without compass or chart and he did incredible things," said Sean Finney, Finney's oldest son. 

Throughout his life, Finney was a faculty member at several universities, including University of Hawaii at Manoa, and author of 8 books, but Sean and Greg Finney also remember him as Dad. 

"He had the best dry sense of humor," said Greg Finney. 

Despite his sense of humor, Finney wasn't kidding when he set out to show Native Hawaiians could intentionally sail long distances without modern technology. 

"They said the canoe was never going to get to Tahiti, and we got to Tahiti," said John Kruse. 

 John Kruse sailed with Finney during Hokulea's maiden voyage to Tahiti in 1976. 

"From that start to where we are today, with all these canoes and all the schools and all this education, I think he is watching this whole thing, he's happy," said Kruse.

Harry Ho would join Finney in other voyages to follow. 

"For me it was an honor and a pleasure to sit with Ben from Rapa Nui to Tonga to New Zealand, it was one of the most critical and historic voyages," said Ho. 

Finney died in May last year, but donated his body to John A. Burns Medical School, so his ashes could not be given to his family until his course was over. 

His family took him on a final sail on board Hokulea before scattering his ashes near Waikiki. 

"He loved this canoe even before it was born, he dreamed about it you know, before it was built so so I'm glad we're going to take him on a final sail on the Hokulea today," said Finney.

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