The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President of Palau, Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., sailed aboard Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia in Apia Harbor, Sāmoa today. They joined Worldwide Voyage crew and specialists such as Sylvia Earle of Mission Blue, artist Wyland, Blue Planet founder Henk Rogers, and Greg Stone of Conservation International.
“Hōkūle’a, our voyaging canoe, threads together stories of hope as she voyages across the world’s oceans. We are inspired that His Excellency Ban Ki-moon and island leaders are coming together on Hōkūle’a’s deck around shared values of preserving and protecting our oceans,” said Nainoa Thompson, president and master navigator of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
His Excellency Ban Ki-moon presented Thompson and the crew of the Worldwide Voyage with a handwritten message in a bottle that he asked them to carry with them as they circle the globe. The message stated, “I am honored to be a part of Hōkūle’a’s Worldwide Voyage. I am inspired by its global mission. As you tour the globe, I will work and rally more leaders to our common cause of ushering in a more sustainable future, and a life of dignity for all.”
Today’s sail represents the theme of the Worldwide Voyage, Mālama Honua, or “Care for Our Island Earth.” The ongoing United Nations Small Island Developing States conference focuses on island nations that are particularly vulnerable to climate change and the challenges that face our oceans.
“People often say we are in the same boat,” Ban Ki-moon said during the conference,” I would say we are all on the same small island on the same small planet Earth; this is like a small boat in the universe.”
On the same afternoon of the UN Secretary General sail, Polynesian Voyaging Society leaders at home in Hawaiʻi took part in a Pillars of Peace dialogue about climate change hosted by the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a panelist at the event and a former guest aboard Hōkūle’a, emphasized to participants, “We have just one planet home. This is an issue of whether we want to survive as a species or not.”
“Hōkūle’a and Hikianalia are sharing an uplifting message as they circumnavigate the globe about the need to care for each other, our oceans, and earth at a critical time in history,” said Polynesian Voyaging Society Chairman, Neil Hannahs. “Our dedicated crew at sea and on land believes that the sustainable practices refined by many island cultures promote a thriving existence, prudent management of finite resources, and intergenerational equity.”
After the Samoa conference, Hōkūle’a and her sister canoe Hikianalia continue their sail across Earth’s oceans to grow the global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports and 26 countries, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017.