Legendary voyaging canoes Hokulea, Hikianalia and their crews were welcomed by the Mahina community yesterday. The crews enjoyed performances of traditional song and dance from people of all ages during the arrival celebration hosted on the shores of Mahina, which is near Papeete in Tahiti.
The arrival was filled with the true meaning of aloha. “You could feel it from the canoe. The community here was overwhelmingly happy and thrilled with love in their hearts that Hokulea and Hikianalia were there,” says Kala Tanaka, captain and navigator of Hikianalia. Adorned with welcome wishes and lei, the crews were treated to a front row celebration of traditional song and dance.
The arrival in Tahiti marks the reconnection of Hokulea and Hikianalia. The sister canoes were last together in Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the spring of 2015. “We started his voyage together and now we end this voyage together,” says Bruce Blankenfeld, master navigator of Hokulea.
The crew will travel throughout Tahiti and Raiatea to engage with the local communities in ceremony and educational outreach as they celebrate the close of the nearly four-year long journey. Together with her sister canoe Hikianalia, Hokulea will head home to a welcoming ceremony at Magic Island in June 2017.