Canoe Building


Canoe Life

Polynesian Migrations

1996-97 Statewide Voyage: Caring for Hawai'i

Young Voyagers on the Canoe Tour

On September 12, 1996, Hokule'a sailed to Kaua'i, with veteran Kaua'i crew member Dennis Chun serving as captain, and an all-Kaua'i crew.

The voyage was the beginning of a statewide voyage by Hokule'a conducted by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the Queen's Health Systems, the Bishop Museum, and the Hawai'i Maritime Center. The theme of the voyage is Malama Hawai'i--"Caring for Hawai'i." The mission of the participating groups is "to facilitate the building of community-initiated programs and activities which will contribute to a safe, healthy Hawai'i, where cultures thrive and people are productive and secure."

The canoe remained on Kaua'i until November 10, with stops in Nawiliwili, 'Ele'ele (Port Allen), and Hanalei. It was first time in over twenty years that Hokule'a spent an extended period time on Kaua'i. The Kaua'i visit was spearheaded by Na Kalai Wa'a o Kaua'i, a new voyaging group formed by veteran crew members Dennis Chun, John Kruse, and Dr. Pat Aiu. The visit brought together many cultural groups and health care providers, which supported the Hokule'a visit and which began to look at the connection between culture and health, and ways to improve the health of the community, particularly the Hawaiian community. Supporting groups included Wilcox Hospital, Ho'ola Lahui, Mokihana Festivals, Kaua'i Taro Festivals, Aloha Festivals, the Garden Island Canoe Racing Association, the Queen Lili'uokalani Children's Center, Kaua'i Community College Hawaiians Studies, and Kaua'i Rural Health Association.

Dennis Chun summarized the impact of the Hokule'a visit on Kaua'i: "There was an incredible outpouring of interest in Hokule'a and what this canoe means. What stood out was the various ways in which people took meaning from the canoe and incorporated this into their own lives. Some viewed the canoe from its accomplishments and took pride in what the ancients were able to accomplish. While others envisioned the cultural and social aspects of voyaging that enabled Polynesians to venture forth on the ocean. Still others investigated the academic areas of traditional voyaging and marveled at the knowledge and skills that were developed during those times. Whatever the perspective that one chose, there was always the interest, pride, and desire to personalize the canoe within one's own life."

Over 5,000 students and 3,000 community members visited the canoe. About 20 select Kaua'i residents were able to sail and learn voyaging and navigation, while another 75 had at least one opportunity to sail. The newly formed Na Kalai Wa'a o Kaua'i hopes the visit will inspire the community to support the building of a voyaging canoe for the island.

On January 11, the O'ahu segment of the statewide voyage began, with the Hakipu'u 'Ohana and other members of the Ko'olaupoko district of O'ahu sailing Hokule'a from the Hawai'i Maritime Center to Maunalua Bay on a training sail. On January 26-27, the 'Ohana will sail the canoe around Makapu'u to Kane'ohe Bay, and anchor at Hakipu'u for three weeks of canoe activities, including community sails, star observations, and canoe tours for elementary and intermediate schoolchildren. The tours will teach about navigation, geography, provisioning, and sailing while emphasizing values such as 'Imi 'Ike (Seeking Knowledge), Malama (Taking Care), Laulima (Working Together), Lokomaika'i (Sharing), and Olakino Maika'i (Living Healthily) as keys to a successful, safe voyage. Windward Community College's voyaging class is planning to build a star compass at Kualoa Regional Park in order to teach younger students and the community about the ancient Polynesian method of navigating by the stars.

Pu'ohala Immersion School 4th Graders Check Out Hokule'a's Hold

Pu'ohala Immersion School 4th Grade Girls

Shantell Ching, PVS, and Community Volunteers Ferrying Students Out to Hokule'a at Kahana Bay, 1997

John Koa, Kamaki Worthington, Nainoa Thompson, Richard Spillner, Ian Thompson off Makua, O'ahu, 1997

The statewide sail continued on to July 19, 1997. In ancient times the demi-god Maui tried to pull together the islands of Hawai'i to make them one big island. When his brothers disobeyed his command not to look back, the islands broke free and drifted apart. Hokule'a brought the islands together again, in spirit. It visited Moloka'i, Hawai'i, Maui, Lana'i, and Kaho'olawe. The ten-month sail covered two-thousand miles and trained dozens of crew members. Community response to the Statewide Sail was overwhelming--during the 10 month voyage, more than 30,000 school children and community members from 30 different communities participated by working to support or touring the canoe. Community people from each island were trained as crew members, and with great excitement helped to sail the canoe to their home islands. Each community organized activities for the canoe's visit that reflected their own unique interests and special character. Every community greeted Hokule'a and her crew as family and cared for them with great pride. Mahalo nui loa to all who helped make the statewide voyage a success.

Canoe Coordinators were Dennis Chun, Kaua'i; Nainoa Thompson and Bruce Blankenfeld, O'ahu; Penny Martin and Mel Pa'oa, Moloka'i; Clay Bertelmann, Moku o Hawai'i; JoAnne and Leon Sterling, Maui; and Sol Kaho'ohalahala, Lana'i.

Hokule'a Landing at Hana, Maui, 1997, Photo by Monte Costa

Hokule'a on the North Side of Moloka'i 1997

Statewide Sail: Hokule'a Anchored Off Kaluapapa, 1997