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Hawaii Senate Honors Hokulea’s 40 Year History

In an historic gathering in the Senate chambers, Hawai’i’s State Senators recognized the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the twelve living crew members from the Hōkūle‘a’s maiden voyage to Tahiti in 1976. It is the first time all living members of the Hōkūle‘a’s original crew were together since the inaugural voyage.


Recognizing the impact the Hōkūle‘a and the Polynesian Voyaging Society has made on the state of Hawai‘i, Senators honored the 40th anniversary of the legendary sailing canoe and its birth of the revival of traditional voyaging and wayfinding.

“This dedicated crew has inspired generations to be proud of their Pacific heritage and to continue to seek inclusive island wisdom of sustainability, responsibility and mutual respect and caring,” said Senator Gilbert Kahele (D 1st District – Hilo, Pi‘ihonua, Kaūmana, Waiākea, Keaukaha). “Hōkūle‘a is more than a voyaging canoe, she represents a design shared by the people of Hawai‘i, the Pacific and the world to perpetuate and protect our most cherished values and places from disappearing.”

“Forty years is a long time and it raises the question: ‘Is something like a voyaging canoe relevant? Does it still have meaning and value to our society?’” said Nainoa Thompson, pwo navigator, president of PVS and crewmember of the 1976 maiden voyage. “We are grateful to have our governmental body take the time to celebrate the worldwide voyage and to me, it shows that Hawai‘i is still with us, that the canoe still matters. As the voyage now heads into the Indian Ocean, which is much more dangerous, it gives us the strength to set sail.”

Honored today on the Senate floor:

  • Ben Finney, Ph.D. – In 1973, Finney co-founded the Polynesian Voyaging Society with Herb Kāne and Tommy Holmes. He served as PVS’s first president.
  • Milton “Shorty” Bertelmann – Bertelmann first learned traditional, observational navigation from Mau Piailug during the sail from Hawai‘i to Tahiti. He served as captain on Hōkūle‘a in 1980 and 1985.
  • Richard “Buffalo” Keaulana – Often referred to as the “Mayor of Makaha,” Keaulana is the winner of the 1960 Makaha International.
  • John Kruse – Kruse is a pillar of the canoe community on Kaua‘i and continues to lead work on the Garden Isle’s own sailing canoe, Namahoe.
  • William “Billy” Richards – Richards serves as a director on several public service organizations, Native Hawiian and educational boards, including Paepae O He‘eia, Bishop Museum Association Council, and ‘Aha Kāne. He is presently the Director of Communications for Partners in Development Foundation, a public not-for-profit company that serves the Native Hawaiian community through social and educational programs.
  • Charles Nainoa Thompson – Thompson is the first Hawaiian to practice the art of wayfinding on long distance ocean voyages since such voyaging ended in Hawai‘i around the 14th century. He now teaches a system of wayfinding that he developed by synthesizing traditional principles of ancient Pacific navigation and modern science.
  • Abraham “Snake” Ah Hee – Ah Hee is a veteran of the National Guard and served a tour in Vietnam.  He credits the Hōkūle‘a’s voyage for strengthening the Hawaiian culture in spirit.
  • Francis Kainoa Lee – Lee became a part of the Hōkūle‘a’s first crew after his wife signed him up for a workshop in Kualoa to get acquainted with sailing the wa‘a. Lee has sailed on many voyages since and continues to support the crews in the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.
  • Kimo Lyman – Lyman worked for the first fire department in Waialua. He is a veteran of many sails on Hōkūlea starting in 1976 and was the instrumental navigator on the voyage from Tahiti to Hawai‘i.
  • Gordon Pi‘ianai‘a – Pi‘ianai‘a’s career at sea began shortly after he graduated from the Kamehameha Schools for boys and he entered the Navy. Gordon started sailing on Hōkūle‘a in 1976 and has served as captain on numerous legs, while sailing a part of each of the voyages from 1980 through 2014.
  • Penny Martin – Martin is one of only two women who took part in Hōkūle‘a’s first voyage in 1976. She now works for Papahana Kualoa’s Lelekamanu Project where she teaches cultural- based environmental education.
  • Dr. Ben Young – Dr. Young served as the crew’s doctor on the first voyage in 1976. Young authored the article, Psychological Effects of Long Ocean Voyages, which is still used to educate new crewmembers on how to recognize and plan for the psychological effects that could be experienced during long voyages.

Volunteers and employees of the University of Hawai‘i Honolulu Community College and its Marine Education and Training Center and the                                                                                                                                                                                                        Polynesian Voyaging Society who have supported the many sails over the past 40 years were also recognized on the Senate floor.  They include:

  • Cecelia Lindo — one of the first staff of PVS
  • Haʻaheo Mansfield — one of the first staff of PVS
  • Bert Kaihe Barber — one of the first volunteers for PVS and Hōkūleʻa
  • Robert Perkins — Director of the Marine Education and Training Center (where Hōkūleʻa and PVS are housed)
  • Laura Thompson — PVS Board Member, wife of Pinky Thompson and mother of Nainoa Thompson
  • Clyde Nāmuʻo — CEO of PVS
  • Dennis Kawaharada — Kapiʻolani Community College, English faculty and long-time PVS documenter
  • Neil Hannahs — PVS Board Chair
  • Marisa Hayase — PVS Communications Director
  • Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa — PVS Board Member
  • Billy Ornellas — PVS Board Member
  • Erika Lacro — Chancellor of Honolulu Community College

“Hōkūleʻa continues to be Hawai‘i’s canoe, a floating classroom for Hawai‘i and Island Earth, building on the awareness and understanding generated from her historic launching forty years ago,” said Sen. Kahele. “We extend our best wishes for the safety and success in their journey on their Mālama Honua, the Worldwide Voyage.”

For more information on the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage: www.hokulea.com

Jack Johnson and Polynesian Voyaging Society Launch Song Celebrating 40 Years of Hōkūleʻa

The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) today launched a special online crowdfunding campaign in partnership with musician Jack Johnson.

Nainoa Thompson and Jack Johnson

Nainoa Thompson and Jack Johnson

The campaign, which is now live at RallySong.com, offers users a chance to download the song “Na Ho‘okele Opoipio (The Young Navigators),” which was written by Chucky Boy Chock and recorded with Johnson and Paula Fuga in honor of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

“The Polynesian discovery of islands throughout the Pacific Ocean was one of humanity’s most amazing achievements,” said Jack Johnson, songwriter and musician. “With the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, we have a new generation of navigators exploring the earth and bringing people together to find a sustainable future. We are proud to support them with this song, “Na Hoʻokele Opiopio,” which means, “The Young Navigators.”

Cultivating and nurturing the next generation of navigators is a key focus for the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, which seeks to educate people and communities around the world about the values of traditional wayfinding (non-instrument navigation) and the importance of caring for our Island Earth.

Chucky, Jack and Paula

Chucky Boy, Jack and Paula

“We are grateful to Jack Johnson, Chucky Boy, and Paula for honoring our next generation of navigators,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Jack and Paula and Chucky Boy“Across the globe, there are young people with the courage to set a new course and protect our natural environment. They are our leaders and navigators, whether they are on canoes or not, and we hope this campaign will provide a way for more people to join our voyage.”

All proceeds from the RallySong campaign will benefit PVS and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. In addition to purchasing and downloading the song, fans can also purchase collector’s items and enter a raffle for a chance to win grand prizes such as an ukulele autographed by Jack Johnson and a Papa He‘e Nalu (small wood surfboard), crafted with mahagony wood from the deckboards of the Hōkūleʻa. The campaign runs through April 25, 2015 and seeks to meet a fundraising goal of $75,000.

“This fundraiser comes at a critical juncture for PVS and the Worldwide Voyage, as we prepare to leave the Pacific for the first time,” said Clyde Namuʻo, PVS Chief Executive Officer. “In 2015 we will be travelling from New Zealand to Australia and South Africa, and every contribution from our community will make it possible for us to complete this historic leg of our journey around the world.”

Hōkūleʻa, a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, is celebrating 40 years this year since her first launch from the sacred shores of Hakipu‘u-Kualoa in Kāne‘ohe Bay, O’ahu, on March 8, 1975. The iconic canoe helped contribute to a significant generation of renewal for Hawaiian culture and language, and revitalized voyaging and navigation traditions throughout the Pacific Ocean.

The Hawaiian name for this journey, Mālama Honua, means “to care for our Island Earth” and is taking Hōkūleʻa and her sister canoe Hikianalia across Earth’s oceans to grow a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, 26 nations, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017. The canoes are currently in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Hōkūleʻa Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Her First Launch

Hōkūleʻa, the iconic canoe of the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, will celebrate her landmark 40th anniversary with a series of celebratory events and festivities throughout 2015.

hokulea4The traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, designed by artist and historian Herb Kawainui Kane, launched from the sacred shores of Kualoa in Kāne‘ohe Bay, O’ahu, on March 8, 1975. The launch of Hōkūleʻa helped begin a generation of renewal for Hawai‘i’s people that, along with the revitalization of voyaging and navigation traditions, introduced a new-found respect and appreciation for Hawaiian culture and language in the state of Hawai‘i and beyond.

Hokulea Nainoa

“Hōkūleʻa is more than a voyaging canoe – she awakened us to the importance of bringing people together from all walks of life to perpetuate the values we care about in Hawaiʻi,” said Nainoa Thompson, master navigator and president of PVS. “We have a kuleana to build a future worthy of our children. As we celebrate 40 years of sailing, we look forward to sharing Hōkūleʻa’s story, and hope that she inspires many more people to navigate their own voyages of kindness and compassion.”

Hokulea1In celebration of Hōkūleʻa’s 40th anniversary, PVS will ask community members in Hawaiʻi, the 26 Polynesian islands visited this year, and future ports of the Worldwide Voyage to share a birthday message and submit inspiring local “stories of hope” about young people taking leadership roles in caring for their natural environment and culture. This “Birthday to Earth Day” campaign will run from March 8 to April 23 on hokulea.com.

Anniversary festivities throughout 2015 include a fundraising campaign with local musicians Jack Johnson, Chucky Boy Chock and Paula Fuga, a talk story series and birthday Paʻina hosted by ‘Ulu‘ulu at the University of Hawai‘i at West O’ahu, an Earth Day beach cleanup, summer film screenings, and events in conjunction with the Friends of Hawaiʻi State Libraries. Events will be posted on hokulea.com.

hokulea5Since her first voyage to Tahiti in 1976, Hōkūleʻa, which means “Star of Gladness,” has brought together hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Pacific Ocean. As she continues to connect stories of hope throughout the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, Hōkūleʻa will seek to inspire and establish a lasting network of people and cultures around the globe to work collectively to care for our Island Earth.

The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage is taking Hōkūleʻa and her sister canoe Hikianalia across Earth’s oceans to grow a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, 26 nations, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017. The canoes are currently in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Hōkūleʻa’s 40th Anniversary March Events (Please check hokulea.com for updates and ongoing events):

March 10 through April 22
Hōkūleʻa “Birthday to Earth Day” campaign at hokulea.com

March 16, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Celebrating Hōkūleʻa @ ʻUluʻulu—University of Hawai‘i at West O’ahu: Talk Story with Keoni Lee.

Keoni Lee, co-founder of ʻŌiwi TV and a crewmember of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, will share about ʻŌiwi TV’s efforts to document the voyage using video, social media and other technologies. He will discuss the diverse traditional and new media channels used to share Hōkūleʻa’s story with Hawai’i and the world.

March 17, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Celebrating Hōkūleʻa @ ‘Ulu‘ulu – University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu: 40th Anniversary Pā‘ina.

Join us for a pā‘ina celebration of Hōkūleʻa and her 40 years of accomplishments. Polynesian Voyaging activities for students and the public, with music and light refreshments.

March 19, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Celebrating Hōkūleʻa @ ‘Ulu‘ulu – University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu: Elisa Yadao & Cliff Watson
Elisa Yadao, a former television news reporter, and Cliff Watson, cameraman and producer, will share their experiences documenting Hōkūleʻa’s early voyages and share footage from the archives.

April 25
Earth Day Mauka to Makai Cleanup
Join PVS and Sustainable Coastlines at Kailua Beach Park to help us mālama aina this Earth Day.

Hōkūleʻa Ventures Furthest from the Equator in Her History

Traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūle’a achieved a new milestone in her journey around the word. During this leg of the Worldwide Voyage, she successfully completed the roundtrip sail from Wellington to Golden Bay, New Zealand. This marks the furthest into the Southern Hemisphere that Hōkūleʻa has sailed in four decades of voyaging. The crew returned safely to Wellington on Saturday, and Hōkūleʻa is now in route to Napier, New Zealand.

Hokulea equator

This leg of the Worldwide Voyage was an ambitious journey, taking Hōkūle’a far beyond the warm waters of the Pacific in which she has travelled extensively over the past four decades. The harsh sea and weather conditions along New Zealand’s South Island and beyond will continue to push the boundaries of contemporary Polynesian voyaging as Hōkūleʻa sails around the world.

hokulea equator3

“On March 8th, 1975, Hōkūle’a was launched with the vision of one voyage to Tahiti and back,” said Bruce Blankenfeld, Pwo (master) navigator with the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “She has been restored and reenergized through the aloha and good mana of our large voyaging community, young and old, from near and far. In 2015, 40 years later, she continues to afford us the opportunity to explore new horizons.”

While on South Island on January 21, 2015, crew had the opportunity to visit and honor the place where a 600-year-old voyaging canoe was recently rediscovered.

hokulea equator 2

Making this connection between Hōkūle’a and her ancient predecessor honors Polynesians’ ability to explore the ocean world, proving the strength and vitality of these voyaging vessels. This ancient Polynesian double-hulled canoe “is the reason why Hōkūleʻa sailed to Mohua Bay,” said the captain for this leg of the voyage, Kālepa Baybayan. “It is to pay homage, to recognize the importance of this artifact.”

“This is the farthest south we have ever gone to a part of the ocean that is notoriously rough,” said Nainoa Thompson, Pwo navigator and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “It was accomplished because of unprecedented collaborations and support, and Kālepa Baybayan’s good leadership. This leg of the Worldwide Voyage was extensive, exceptional, and honored our traditions. It was foundational to our ability to do well as we prepare to depart Polynesia.”

The Hawaiian name for this journey, Mālama Honua, means “to care for our Island Earth” and is taking Hōkūleʻa and her sister canoe Hikianalia across Earth’s oceans to grow a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, 26 nations, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017.

Hōkūle‘a Departure Update – Tahiti First Stop on Voyage Around World

Hōkūleʻa and Hikianala are in Hilo, their last stop in Hawai‘i before their voyage around the world!

Hokulea in Radio Bay

Hōkūle‘a in Radio Bay

On Saturday, 5/24, private cultural ceremonies will take place early in the morning to help prepare and protect our crew members and our waʻa. From 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., the local community has spearheaded a public opportunity to share mākana and visit the waʻa. Mahalo nui loa for the hospitality and the aloha in Palekai/Radio Bay.

The Hōkūle‘a being worked on. Picture courtesy of Pillars of Peace

The Hōkūle‘a being worked on. Picture courtesy of Pillars of Peace

After the noon hour on Saturday, 5/24, the crew and waʻa will go into a kapu period of rest, reflection, and emotional and spiritual preparation for the journey ahead. Our captains, working together with the national weather service, have noted that the appropriate winds for our journey will likely not appear until Tuesday 5/27.

Na Aumakua of the Hōkūle‘a

Na Aumakua of the Hōkūle‘a

As Nainoa Thompson remarked, “Mau taught me patience, letting me know that we do not tell the wind what to do–the wind tells us what to do.” We look forward to the right conditions for departure on or after Tuesday 5/27, and to celebrating with the Hilo community this Saturday.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Contributes $250,000 for Hokulea’s Historic Voyage

The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) has been awarded a five-year, $250,000 grant from Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) and its related companies American Savings Bank,  Hawaiian Electric, Hawaii Electric Light and Maui Electric to support its historic voyage, Malama Honua (care for the Earth), a five-year, around-the-world odyssey by long-distance canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia.

PVS has been awarded a five-year, $250,000 grant from Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) to support Hokulea. Standing left to right are: Jenna Ishii (PVS), Nainoa Thompson (PVS), Rich Wacker (American Savings Bank), Connie Lau (HEI), Dick Rosenblum (Hawaiian Electric) and Clyde Namuo (PVS). Photo credit: Oiwi TV.

PVS has been awarded a five-year, $250,000 grant from Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) to support Hokulea. Standing left to right are: Jenna Ishii (PVS), Nainoa Thompson (PVS), Rich Wacker (American Savings Bank), Connie Lau (HEI), Dick Rosenblum (Hawaiian Electric) and Clyde Namuo (PVS). Photo credit: Oiwi TV.

HEI’s grant will help to document the voyage and collect, interpret and share scientific and cultural data for a global audience. While Hokulea is the traditionally navigated voyaging canoe using ancestral knowledge and signs of nature to navigate the ocean, Hikianalia is the ecologically friendly and high-tech support canoe powered by photovoltaic panels, electric motors and sails with satellite communications capability. The two vessels will bridge culture, tradition and indigenous knowledge with modern technology while they serve as platforms for exploration, communication and connection.

“We are proud to be a part of this extraordinary journey which will build relationships across the globe,” said Connie Lau, HEI president and CEO. “We applaud PVS for their efforts to foster culture, education, exploration and sustainability as we share the same commitment to make Hawaii and the world a better place for our children and generations to follow.”

American Savings Bank plans to further support Hokulea awareness and fundraising efforts in their marketing and public relations activities, as well as tie in to their Bank for Education program which promotes excellence in education. The Hawaiian Electric Companies also are partnering with PVS to raise awareness. The Companies are interested in the efforts of the solar- and wind-powered vessel Hikianalia which will capture and use data to provide curricula and lesson plans directly from the voyaging canoes to classrooms in Hawaii.

“We are grateful for the strong partnerships with individuals, businesses and organizations like Hawaiian Electric Industries who share our values and vision for the Worldwide Voyage,” said Nainoa Thompson, PVS president.  “HEI’s contribution will help assure a sustainable future that honors the health and well-being of our islands, oceans, culture and people.”

“Hokulea’s historic voyage reminds us of our host culture’s courage and knowledge as well as our willingness to embrace the future,” added Alan Oshima, president of HEI’s Charitable Foundation. “We think the attention that will be given to the two canoes and their crews will inspire us to overcome challenges, hopefully inspiring new leaders.  For these reasons, we are proud to support Malama Honua.”

Hawaii Education Leaders Partnering in Worldwide Voyage

Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and Hawaii State Board of Education members today joined education leaders from public and private sectors in signifying their shared support for and participation with the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s (PVS’s) Worldwide Voyage.

Just an overexposed picture I kind of like

Just an overexposed picture I kind of like

Representatives from early childhood to higher education institutions gathered at the Marine Education and Training Center on Oahu’s Sand Island to sign a memorandum of understanding in support of community based and sustainable education aligned with the PVS’s voyaging canoes Hokulea and sister vessel Hikianalia. Titled “Promise to Children,” the MOU states in part that, “We will transform our schools, empower youthful voices, and accept the responsibility of Malama Honua. We believe that by inspiring children to explore, discover and learn about Island Earth, they will navigate the future of humanity toward vitality, renewal, and compassion.”

Jenna Ishii explains some of the safety equipment

Jenna Ishii explains some of the safety equipment

“We are … excited that we can make the claim that Hawaii is with us,” said master navigator Nainoa Thompson. He said the Hokulea, in preparation for its Worldwide Voyage, has hosted more than 20,000 school children and community members while visiting ports across the Islands.

Over the next 48 months, the Worldwide Voyage will sail 49,000 nautical miles, visiting 26 countries and 85 ports while sharing Hawaii’s culture with the world. Educators are collaborating on curriculum aligned with Worldwide Voyage activities. Students will be able to embark on a virtual educational journey and participate via various technology channels and the Internet.

The decks were so hot when I was aboard the Hokulea, that they had to keep splashing water on the deck to keep our feet from burning

The decks were so hot when I was aboard the Hokulea, that they had to keep splashing water on the deck to keep our feet from burning

“This voyage not only offers lessons about world exploration and Hawaiian navigation but also the cultivation of aloha and valued Hawaiian traditions,” said Superintendent Matayoshi. “We are excited to be a partner in this educational endeavor and will build upon the knowledge over the course of the next four years. We are grateful to the Polynesian Voyaging Society for including our public school students and teachers in this mission.”

While the vessels are not slated to depart Hawaii until May 2014, plans for the Worldwide Voyage are already changing the lives of children such as Daniel Corpuz, who has been visiting the Hokulea as part of an educational program.

“It was only natural that I fell in love with PVS,” he said about growing up near the ocean in Waianae. He said the program has engaged students with culturally relevant, hands-on learning and will help change negative stereotypes on the Leeward Coast. “As they are judging, we are learning,” Corpuz added.

The Hōkūle‘a

The Hōkūle‘a

Follow along with the educational program on the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s website at hokulea.org.

The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 288 schools and serves more than 185,000 students. To learn more about the Department, its goals and vision for success, visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org.


16-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Receives Wish of a Lifetime Aboard the Hōkūleʻa

The Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa welcomed special guests Sunday as she sailed from her home port at Sand Island to her final Hawai‘i stop of the Mālama Hawaiʻi portion of the Worldwide Voyage, Ko Olina. On board was Wish Kid Colin, his mom, his brother Chase and his aunt; Colin was receiving his wish-come-true.

Colin takes the helm of the Hokulea

Colin takes the helm of the Hokulea

After facing a life-threatening diagnosis of alveolar rhabdomyasarcoma, countless treatments and hospital stays, Colin’s one true wish was to travel to O‘ahu for a sailing experience, and the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) partnered with Make-A-Wish® Hawaii to grant his wish. PVS crewmembers were quick to volunteer to support Colin’s wish – many of those on Sunday’s voyage were cancer survivors themselves.

Colin has had a life-long love for sailing that started with sailing excursions with his dad who was in the Navy and a sailor at heart. Tom, Colin’s father, passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly in January 2010, and then Colin was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer two years later. Today, Colin can say he is cancer clear and he felt this wish would not only realize his passion, but honor his family, particularly his father, as well.

Colin and brother Chase

Colin and brother Chase

Once under sail, a pule, prayer, was said and introductions were made, as is traditional. During the sail, Colin and Chase (10) helped to steer the waʻa and participated in story telling exchanges with the crew. Colin’s mom and aunt did not hop on the sweep, but actively shared stories with the crew. It was a happy sunset sail, with a lot of laughter and learning.

“We are incredibly honored to work with Polynesian Voyaging Society to help make Colin’s wish come true,” said Siana Hunt, President and CEO Make-A-Wish Hawaii. “We believe that a wish can be powerful medicine for children battling life-threatening conditions and we would not be able to bring wishes true without the support of our community; the type of incredible support shown by PVS with Colin’s wish. Colin was shown the true spirit of aloha and we couldn’t be more grateful for PVS’s involvement.”

Nainoa Thompson

Nainoa Thompson

As the sail completed, Master navigator Nainoa Thompson told Colin “you are a star of hope.” Colin smiled and said the sail was just as he imagined it would be.

“Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau” Premieres October 1st on ESPN

Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau chronicles the remarkable life and times of the late Eddie Aikau, the legendary Hawaiian big wave surfer, pioneering lifeguard and ultimately doomed crew member of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea.

Legend of Eddie Aikau

With its rich combination of archival imagery, dramatic reenactments, contemporary interviews and meticulously researched historical source material Hawaiian is a compelling examination of the tragic decline and extraordinary rebirth of the Hawaiian culture as personified by a native son whose dynamic life and heroic death served as inspiration to an entire spiritual movement.


30 for 30 ‘Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau’ premieres October 1st, 8pm ET on ESPN.

Maui and Molokai Residents Invited to Visit the Hōkūle‘a

The Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a welcomes the public to visit her in Mā‘alaea Harbor for a few more days.  Crew members have been connecting with youth and community groups since their arrival on Maui on June 17th.

The Hokulea in Hilo

The Hokulea in Hilo

A community presentation about the upcoming Worldwide Voyage is planned for Wednesday, June 26, from 6:00-8:00 PM at the headquarters of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary at 726 S. Kīhei Road (see attached flyer).  Apprentice navigator Ka‘iulani Murphy and crewmembers from Hui ‘o Wa‘a Kaulua, ‘Ohana Wa‘a and Polynesian Voyaging Society will be sharing their stories.

While docked at Mā‘alaea, the public is welcome to visit Hōkūle‘a between 9 AM – 12 noon and 1-5 PM through the 27th.

Mālama Hawai‘i is the first leg of Mālama Honua, the Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines.  Hōkūle‘a will pay respects to communities throughout Hawai‘i in gratitude for 38 years of support of voyaging here.

Na Aumakua of the Hokulea

Na Aumakua of the Hokulea

In addition, we will feature stories of leadership and wise practices in resource management, voyaging and navigation, innovative education, and cultural practice throughout the islands.  The plans for the Worldwide Voyage will be shared at every port.  Over the next several weeks*, Hōkūle‘a will be in the waters of Maui Nui:

  • Through June 27      Mā‘alaea, Maui
  • June 28 – Jul 1           Lahaina, Maui
  • July 1 – 3                      Kealaikahiki, Kaho‘olawe
  • July 3 – 8                      Mānele, Lāna‘i
  • July 8 – 15                   Kaunakakai, Moloka‘i
  • August 16 – 18           Hāna, Maui
  • August 18 – 19           Honolua, Maui
  • August 19 – 20          Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i
  • August 20 – 23          Kaunakakai, Moloka‘i

* All dates are subject to change.  Committed to the safety of our crews and vessels, all sail dates are weather/safety dependent.

The Hōkūle‘a Arrives in Hilo – Malama Hawaii (Statewide Sails) and Malama Honua (Worldwide Voyage)

Today I had the opportunity to check out the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Canoe the Hōkūle‘a as it has arrived in Hilo as it prepares to take off for its “Malama Hawaii” (statewide sails) before the Malama Honua (worldwide voyage).

Hōkūle‘a ported at Radio Bay in Hilo

Hōkūle‘a ported at Radio Bay in Hilo

The Worldwide Voyage will include stops at more than 60 ports in more than 20 countries, all connected by ocean, most with traditional systems of ocean voyaging.

The Hōkūle‘a

The Hōkūle‘a

Here is a map of the planned route that they plan on taking:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Crew member Kim Kuulei Birnie talked about the pending voyage and the route that the vessels will take and explained how this is the first time that the vessels have ever been out of the Pacific Ocean as part of their planned route will take them through the Panama Canal and into the Atlantic Ocean and beyond.


I was invited out to the vessel along with David Corrigan from Big Island Video News and Tiffany Edwards Hunt from Big Island Chronicle and we got to ask crew members about the pending trip.

David Corrigan interviews Kim Kuulei Birnie

David Corrigan interviews Kim Kuulei Birnie

Tiffany Edwards Hunt checks out one of the places to sleep on board

Tiffany Edwards Hunt checks out one of the places to sleep on board

Education Specialist Jenna Ishii was kind enough to explain how things worked aboard the ship and was honest enough to tell us that one of the most difficult tasks they have is actually going to the bathroom as they have to harness themselves to rope and then do their business over the side of the boat.

Jenna Ishii explains some of the safety equipment

Jenna Ishii explains some of the safety equipment

She explained in all the years that the vessels have been going on there has been only three incidents of a crew member falling over board however they are prepared for it when and if it were to happen.

Ishii shows us the flashing beacon that is tossed over shores if someone goes overboard

Ishii shows us the flashing beacon that is tossed off the boat if someone goes overboard

“Since Hokulea’s launch in 1975, Hawaiians have reclaimed and refined the art of wayfinding, non-instrument navigation that synthesizes tradition principles of Pacific Navigation and modern scientific knowledge.”

"Eddie Would Go!"

“Eddie Would Go!”

Here is one of the press releases I received from them on Why Hokulea Voyages:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Here is the tentative Sail Plan and Port List, of course this could all change because of a lot of factors but this is what they are shooting for… note that this first year is what is termed the Malama Honua Hawaii Tour as it travels throughout the Hawaii Islands for the next year to make sure the vessels are prepared for the worldwide Voyage:

The Hawaii part of the World Wide Exploration

The Hawaii part of the World Wide Exploration

And the worldwide plan(s):

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

I spent about an hour aboard the Hokulea this afternoon and look forward to following them on their worldwide tour.

The decks were so hot, that they had to keep splashing water on the deck to keep our feet from burning

The decks were so hot, that they had to keep splashing water on the deck to keep our feet from burning

Here are some quick facts about the Hokule’a and the Hikanalia:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The public is invited to send off the vessels tomorrow, however, they technically won’t leave for a few more days however, this will be the main chance for the public to check things out.  A community potluck is being provided by the folks of the Keaukaha Community and the Canoe Clubs that are in Hilo.

Hokulea in Hilo

Just an overexposed picture I kind of like

Just an overexposed picture I kind of like


Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage Public Celebration – Hōkūle‘a in Hilo

The Polynesian Voyaging Society Canoe “Hōkūle‘a” is currently in Hilo at Palekai, Radio Bay in Keaukaha.

Her sister canoe, the  Hikianalia will depart Kawaihae today at 5 PM and be in Hilo sometime Saturday.  All events are subject to change, of course, mostly due to the weather.

On Sunday, June 9th, a big community event in Hilo will include the Hōkūle‘a launch ceremonies.  Everyone is invited.

Hokulea in Hilo

It is being hosted by Keaukaha community, ‘Ohana Wa‘a and the canoe clubs there.  There will be guest speakers that include Mayor Kenoi, a couple of the Ocean Elders and others.

The window of opportunity for the actual departure is between June 10-14, but the official ceremonies will take place Sunday.

According to Hawaii News Now:

…There are 22 legs planned for Hokulea’s voyage around the world, but the first and final are both right here at home.  Crew members say it’s about honoring our community and showing Hawaii’s people their gratitude.

Over the next four years, Hokule’a and her escort boat and sister canoe, Hikianalia, will travel to 28 countries and stop at 85 international ports – sailing more than 45,000 nautical miles around the world.

“We want to go. It’s time to go,” said navigator Nainoa Thompson, Hokulea’s Captain.

But before they set sail for international waters, Hokule’a and Hikianalia will spend the first five months of their journey right here at home.

“Around Hawai’i sail is the first leg.  It’s only a thousand miles, probably the shortest of all of them, but it’s the most important,” described Thompson, before adding this portion of the voyage is crucial to making sure all 250 crew members are trained and prepared before heading to the South Pacific next May.

“In many ways we could go to Tahiti right now.  We’re safe enough to do that, but I think this engagement with home is a crucial piece to earning that voyage,” explained Thompson.

“Malama Honua”, or “Care for the Earth”, defines the worldwide voyage’s mission and crew members say that starts here in the islands with “Malama Hawai’i”…

Worldwide Voyage Receives First Major Sponsorship

Hawaiian Airlines Pledges Crew Travel and Cargo Transportation

In a significant display of support for the mission of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Worldwide Voyage, Hawaiian Airlines has pledged to provide air transportation for PVS crew and cargo throughout Hawaiian’s route network for the duration of the four-year voyage.

Hikianalia on its way to Hawaii last year.

Hikianalia on its way to Hawaii last year.

Under a sponsorship contract signed this week, Hawaiian Airlines will provide 32 million air miles for crew travel, as well as cargo support for supplies needed as the sailing canoes Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia travel to international ports throughout the Pacific.  The value of the sponsorship is estimated to be $1 million.

Hawaiian will be the lead sponsor of the voyage, which will be known as “The Worldwide Voyage Sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines.”

The Dalai Lama blessed the Hokulea at Kualoa Park last year.  Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

The Dalai Lama blessed the Hōkūle‘a at Kualoa Park last year. Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

“We are deeply appreciative of Hawaiian’s extraordinary commitment to our mission to inspire young people throughout the world to care for and sustain our planet, and to coexist in peace and compassion,” said navigator Nainoa Thompson, PVS president.  “Sailing Hōkūle‘a has taught us the importance of understanding and connecting with our natural resources.  She is a reminder to us all of the need to celebrate and protect the natural and cultural treasures of Island Earth.”

“The Worldwide Voyage honors a legacy of connecting islands throughout the Pacific that Polynesian navigators created centuries ago. It is our privilege as modern-day navigators and beneficiaries of that legacy to support this voyage and its message of sustainability and resource protection,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines’ president and CEO.

The Worldwide Voyage Sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines will begin in June 2013 with a series of voyages throughout the Hawaiian archipelago, and continue through 2017 with visits to more than 60 ports in more than 20 countries.

The Hōkūle‘a being worked on. Picture courtesy of Pillars of Peace

The Hōkūle‘a being worked on. Picture courtesy of Pillars of Peace

The 48-month voyage involves more than 400 crewmembers from 16 countries.  This includes educators and scientists who will be using the voyage to research ocean wellness, using Native Hawaiian and western science research methods, and to create voyaging-based curriculum to be disseminated in as many Hawai‘i schools as possible, including Mālama Honua, a newly created charter school affiliated with the voyage.  Hikianalia, the solar- and wind-powered support and sister vessel to Hōkūle‘a, will be a platform for marine science, documentation, education outreach, communication and teacher training, while Hōkūle‘a will continue to be a platform for indigenous knowledge, experiential learning and sustainability.

PVS expects to have approximately 5,000 of Hawai‘i’s school children physically on the canoes during the first year of the Worldwide Voyage, and more than 100,000 Hawai’i students and teachers on board PVS’s third canoe, the website http://hokulea.org, throughout the four-year voyage as part of their curriculum.  Students from several public and private schools in Hawai‘i have already been involved in preparing for the voyage by assisting in dry docks (restoration and repair work) for Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, studying the sail plan, and participating in crew training and classroom work on the wa‘a.

Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

The blessing of the Hokulea. Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

“The involvement of our youth has been one of the most powerful aspects of planning for this voyage,” remarked Thompson.  “We can count on this next generation of voyagers to perpetuate the values and practices that will guide our planet toward good health.”

Commented Dunkerley: “The students who will be touched by this voyage, either by participating in it or by learning from the science-based curriculum it will produce, are the future workforce of Hawaiian Airlines.  So it is fitting that Hawai‘i-based companies such as ours support this journey.”

Hōkūle‘a Returns to the Water – Preparing for Worldwide Voyage Departure

The Polynesian canoe Hōkūle‘a will return to the water this Saturday, February 23, at the Marine Education and Training Center at Sand Island, beginning final sea trials for the upcoming Worldwide Voyage.

Dalai Lama

Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

Hōkūle‘a  was taken out of the water on September 5, 2012 for some cleaning and tightening.  One of the first tasks was to clean and prepare the hulls for a final painting.  Her solar panels have been repositioned, deck boxes have been refined, rigging has be re-lashed, below deck shelving and bunk boards have been rebuilt, and she’s been repainted.  More than 3,000 feet of rope, safety netting and more than 20 gallons of paint have gone into this tune-up. In addition, more than 2,200 volunteer hours, professional services and labor, have been put in at dry dock since September.

Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

“We spent these past few months taking care of a few fine adjustments,” explained Captain Bruce Blankenfeld.  Hōkūle‘a, originally launched in 1975, was completely overhauled recently, splashing back into the water on March 8, 2012.  “During that time Hōkūle‘a was taken apart completely, cleaned and rebuilt piece by piece, making her stronger, lighter and faster—ready to sail for another 37 years.”

Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

Hōkūle‘a will join with the Society’s new canoe, Hikianalia, in the water for the first time.  Together they will undergo sea trials—testing the vessels and training crewmembers—in preparation for the monumental Worldwide Voyage (WWV), which is being planned to depart in June 2013.

“We are looking forward to sailing together, Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia – sister stars, sister canoes,” says PVS president Nainoa Thompson.

Hikianalia is on its way to Hawaii

Hikianalia is on its way to Hawaii

Planning to depart in early June of this year, WWV will spend the first year in the Pacific.  Over three years, WWV will visit more than 60 ports in more than 20 countries.

Thompson looks to the future, “We are ready to embark on a voyage that will share ancestral wisdom, messages of peace, and hope for our children.  The canoe is like planet Earth.  As we care for the wa‘a and each other, we will carry those values that inspire us all to care for planet Earth and all her resources.”

The community is welcome to support the re-launch of Hōkūle‘a this weekend at the Marine Education & Training Center, Sand Island Parkway:

Friday, February 22, evening

  • Hōkūle‘a  will be prepped and loaded onto dollies

Saturday, February 23, 5:00 AM

  • Gathering and blessings
  • Hōkūle‘a splashdown

“Hōkūle‘a has always been Hawai‘is canoe,” asserts Blankenfeld.  “She belongs to Hawai‘i.  We encourage everyone to come out and see her.”

Hikianalia Sets Sail for Hawaii – Hōkūle‘a’s Sister Vessel Will Be Important Part of Worldwide Voyage

Hikianalia, a new state of the art voyaging canoe, has departed Auckland and is headed for Hawai‘i by way of Tahiti.  Hikianalia will sail alongside Hōkūle‘a as part of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s 2013 Worldwide Voyage and will be a vital component in the WWV’s educational endeavors.

Hikianalia is on its way to Hawaii

Like Hōkūle‘a, Hikianalia carries a Hawaiian star name. Spica rises together with Arcturus (Hōkūle‘a) in Hawai‘i. “They are sister stars because they break the horizon together, and Hikianalia will be the first wa‘a, or traditional double-hulled canoe, to accompany Hōkūle‘a as an escort vessel,” explains master navigator Bruce Blankenfeld.

Bruce Blankenfeld

Hikianalia is a high-tech, eco-friendly double-hulled canoe constructed by master boat builders in Auckland, New Zealand.  Made in the same mold of the Pacific Voyager waka moana that gathered in Hawai‘i in 2011 < >, Hikinanalia has electric rather than diesel motors, and in-board propellers. She is 72 feet long, 23 feet wide, and weighs 30,000 gross tons.  Each of Hikianalia’s hulls contains an electric motor powered by onboard photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight to electric propulsive energy.

Hikianalia was launched in Auckland on September 15th.  Since then, crewmembers have put her through extensive sea trials.

“She has great balance and sails beautifully,” says Blankenfeld, who will captain Hikianalia from Aotearoa to Tahiti. “Like all canoes, she’s definitely a living entity and will be a faithful companion to Hōkūle‘a during the Worldwide Voyage.”

The “Vaka Sails” can be seen here

Hikianalia is expected to reach Pape‘ete in 3 weeks, accompanied by the Tahitian canoe Fa‘afaite.  A new crew will sail Hikianalia to Hawai‘i from Tahiti and will make landfall in Hilo.

To track the Hikianalia from Aotearoa to Tahiti and then to Hawai‘i, visit our website http://hokulea.org.

Earth Blessing and Consecration of the Hōkūle’a and the World Wide Voyage

His Holiness the Dalai Lama conducts a blessing of the earth and a consecration of Hōkūle’a and her World Wide Voyage.

Amid traditional Hawaiian chants and ceremonies at an ancient and sacred site, the occasion is captured with powerful symbolism and personal moments.


Related Posts:

Papa Mau: The Wayfinder – 1976 Hōkūle’a Music Video

In 1974, Hawaiians sailed the traditional voyaging canoe Hōkūle’a from Hawai’i to Tahiti and proved to the world that their ancestors had explored the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean by navigating with the stars. Papa Mau: The Wayfinder is the story of critical role that master navigator Mau Piailug played in that voyage, and the rebirth of Polynesian unity and pride that followed.

The Hōkūle’a was built by members of the newly formed Polynesian Voyaging Society, who dreamed of sailing in the way of their ancestors. Shortly thereafter, a search began for someone who could teach them the art of non-instrument navigation, which had been all but lost until they met Micronesian-born Mau, who agreed to share his knowledge. Follow the remarkable journey of an iconic voyaging canoe and a new generation of Hawaiian navigators who, under the guidance of Papa Mau, revitalized and reclaimed Polynesia’s voyaging tradition.


Papa Mau: The Wayfinder is one episode in Pacific Heartbeat, a new anthology series for PBS that provides viewers a glimpse of the real Pacific—its people, cultures, languages, music, and contemporary issues.

Learn more about Papa Mau: The Wayfinder and Pacific Heartbeat at www.pacificheartbeat.org.

Aloha Herb Kane, You Will Be Missed But Not Forgotten

On March 8, 1975 Hōkūleʻa sailed for the first time from Kualoa. On March 8, 2011 her first kapena Herb Kane has passed away.

Aloha Herb, you will be missed but not forgotten.

Voyagers the First Hawaiians… The Premier

Hōkūle’a: Meaning of the World Wide Voyage

Hōkūle’a crewmember Kaina Holomalia describes how the voyage to Palmyra Atoll connects to the greater purpose behind the worldwide voyage

Kaina was a watch captain on the recent voyage to Palmyra Atoll, 1,000 miles south of Hawai’i. Crewmembers are training for the Hōkūle’a Wolrdwide Voyage in which the traditional Hawaiian canoe will circumnavigate the Earth using ancient Polynesian navigation techniques. The crew carry with them the idea that we are all crew members on Canoe Earth and, just as on Hōkūle’a, we need to care for one another an our resources.


Hōkūle’a: World Oceans Day

In celebration of World Oceans Day, Hōkūle’a crew members share some of their footage from the recent trip to the protected atoll, Palmyra. Home to a myriad of species, the intact coral reef system of Palmyra offers a lesson on how our oceans can rebound with just a little care.