Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia Arrive in Tahiti

Papeʻete, Tahiti: Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia—the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s voyaging canoes—were greeted in Tahiti with celebrations commemorating the special relationship between Hōkūleʻa and Tahiti that began with her maiden voyage to French Polynesia 38 years ago. President of French Polynesia, Gaston Flosse, and other dignitaries welcomed in the Polynesian Voyaging Society captains and crew.

The Hokule'a reaches landfall.

The Hokule’a reaches landfall.

The canoes made landfall at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 22. Sarah Vaki, sister of Hikianalia crew member Herve Maraetaata, travelled from her home in the Marquesas to Tahiti to continue a tradition of singing an arrival song for the canoes once they are within sight of land. Heremoana Maatuaaihutapu gave the Tahitian greeting for Hōkūleʻa that his father, Maco, gave in 1976.

In a gathering after the crew made landfall, a special declaration of “Mālama Honua” and pledge to care for the oceans was presented to President Gaston Flosse and master navigator Nainoa Thompson. Tahiti’s Mālama Honua declaration brought together a diverse group of organizations in a pledge of support. Thompson will take this declaration to the United Nations conference in Apia, Samoa, as well as all future ports during the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines. “I was here in 1976, and the people of Tahiti gave us a great gift—they told us that we are family and to be proud of who we are as Pacific people,” said Thompson, amid applause. “Tahiti changed Hawaiʻi forever, and 38 years later, you hand me this Mālama Honua declaration to protect the ocean, and give us hope again.”

Media and the public are invited to attend events throughout the Worldwide Voyage’s time in Tahiti:

Monday, June 23, through Thursday, June 26 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.: Global Education Village with booths and displays about navigation and Mālama Honua efforts.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 6:00 p.m.: Nainoa Thompson presents on navigation techniques and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage at the University.

Sunday, June 29, 2014, 2:00 p.m.: Ceremonial renaming of Paofai beach to Hōkūle‘a Beach by Gaston Flosse, President of French Polynesia.

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