Mālama Honua, “to care for our Earth.”
The Hokule’a and Hikianalia are double hulled voyaging canoes of ancient origin.
From the Polynesian Voyaging Society:
“The Hawaiian name for this voyage, Mālama Honua, means “to care for our Earth.” Living on an island chain teaches us that our natural world is a gift with limits and that we must carefully steward this gift if we are to survive together. As we work to protect cultural and environmental resources for our children’s future, our Pacific voyaging traditions teach us to venture beyond the horizon to connect and learn with others. The Worldwide Voyage is a means by which we now engage all of Island Earth—practicing how to live sustainably, while sharing, learning, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of this precious place we all call home.” Pwo Kalepa Baybayan, one of Hokule’a’s captains said “The earth’s geographic area, 73 percent of it is made up of the world’s oceans, so we are intimately connected — the global population — to what happens in the oceans, because what happens in the world’s oceans will effect what happens on land.”
On May 17, 2014, Hokule’a and her sister vessel, Hikianalia embarked from Oahu for a three year circumnavigation of the earth. The journey will cover 47,000 nautical miles with stops at 85 ports in 26 different countries. The voyagers will be navigating without modern instruments. Instead they’ll strictly use the stars, ocean current, winds, and birds as mapping points for direction.
In 1975, no Hawaiian living knew the ancient techniques for blue water voyaging. Master Navigator Mau Piailug of Micronesia, one of only a handful of people in the world with knowledge of traditional non-instrument navigation was approached by the Polynesian Voyaging Society for guidance. Mau decided that by reaching beyond his own culture, sharing what had been closely guarded knowledge, he could possibly save it from extinction. Through his collaboration with the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Mau’s mentorship has helped to spark pride in the Hawaiian and Polynesian culture, leading to a renaissance of voyaging, canoe building, and non-instrument navigation that continues to grow. What had begun as a scientific experiment to prove a theory about the settlement of Polynesia, has touched a deep root of cultural pride in the Polynesian people. The Hokule’a first launched on March 8, 1975 has since made ten voyages across the Pacific Ocean. The canoe has become a spiritual symbol of inspiration and connects Hawaii with a past that was almost forgotten.
On May 24, 2014 the Hokule’a and Hikianalia arrived at Hilo, Hawaii to take on final provisions and wait for a favorable wind before begining the first leg of the journey to Tahiti. Children from several schools in the Hawaiian Studies program came to offer hula, chants and blessings to the canoes and the voyagers. It was a deeply spiritual experience to be there and witness them embracing the Hawaiian heritage and their pride of culture. (Click any image to enlarge.)
From Nainoa Thomson, the first Hawaiian to navigate a voyaging canoe in more than 600 years:
Whether people want to recognize it or not, we are connected to our natural environment….When a child loses the capacity to understand or care about place, a disconnect occurs…We must help students reconnect by giving opportunities that reawaken their observational skills and help them understand the value of nurturing their own spirituality and physical well-being through taking care of their place.
Nainoa Thompson, 2007
Sources used: Polynesian Voyaging Society, Wikipedia