David and I felt so privileged Monday to hear five crewmembers speak of the history of Hokule’a and their experience as part of her 3-year World Tour. It is such a powerful tale from many perspectives, including how it was a catalyst for Hawaiians to come to know and reclaim their culture in the deepest possible ways.
The very short version of the story is that there has been a 2000-year-old relationship between the islands of Polynesia and the sea. But, as written on hokulea.com, all this was in danger of becoming extinct:
“The canoes that brought the first Hawaiians to their island home had disappeared from earth. Cultural extinction felt dangerously close to many Hawaiians when artist Herb Kane dreamed of rebuilding a double-hulled sailing canoe similar to the ones that his ancestors sailed. Though more than 600 years had passed since the last of these canoes had been seen…. [And] there was no navigator from our culture left. The Voyaging Society looked beyond Polynesia to find a traditional navigator to guide Hokule’a: Mau Pialug, a navigator from a small island called Satawai, in Micronesia. He agreed to come to Hawai’i and guide Hokule’a to Tahiti. Without him, our voyaging would never have taken place.”
Monday the Hokule’a sailed from Oahu to Maui and will be here for a couple weeks, educating the public, and especially the children, about the meaning of this voyaging canoe to the people of Hawaii and throughout the world. For a beautiful (and brief) story of Kala Tanaka, one of the women who is learning to master navigation, go to: https://www.gohawaii.com/hawaii-rooted/Kala-Tanaka