A Voyaging Canoe With a Mission: Around the Earth and Back Again

Leaving the world a better place. It’s a value shared by people of every culture. A Polynesian voyaging canoe stands at the forefront of this value. And after four years of taking its message around the world, the Hokule’a is back home.

The latest Disney movie, Moana, has everyone talking. About Hawaii, about Pua the pig, and above all, about canoes. It’s true; ancient Polynesians were voyagers and wayfinders. Settling the Hawaiian Islands did not happen by chance. Huge voyaging canoes set out on long journeys across the ocean to discover the unknown. This is the story of a modern day  journey with an modern day mission. The Hawaiian name for this journey, Malama Honua, means to care for our Earth.


The Mission and Goal

Hokele’a has been sailing Earth’s oceans since 2013 as part of a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The mission: weave a lei of hope around the world through sharing conservation and preservation initiatives. The goal: use only ancient methods of wayfinding – reading the stars, winds and waves – to guide the voyaging canoes journey.  In fact, this is what the first Polynesian settlers who reached the archipelago did hundreds of years ago.

The Hokule’a – the Hawaiian name for “star of gladness” – was built to mimic a traditional double-hulled Polynesian voyaging canoe. The Hokele’a has traveled to 23 nations, including stops in ports all along the East coast. As this three-year journey comes to an end this month, the voyaging canoe will have covered 60,000 nautical miles.
The Future and Promise
The Hokule‘a’s Malama Honua voyage on water has ended, but the mission continues. The hope is the impact of this historical event will inspire future generations to learn more about the health of our planet and its varied cultures, and take action to preserve and protect both. With firm dedication, the organizers and crew of the Hokele’a will rest up, then renew the effort to spread the message of Malama Honua to the world. To find out more or follow these efforts, visit the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
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