Our Guiding Process

The following describes the process that the Polynesian Voyaging Society has used to carry out successful voyages over the decades. This planning, problem-solving, and decision-making process is taught in Mālama Hawai‘i education programs, and is used in establishing a basis for cooperative efforts in the community:

Vision and Values -- Before beginning any project there must be a clear vision of the destination, and a strong commitment to reaching that destination. Our values steer our actions.

Planning --Once our destination and values are clear, then planning must begin to determine what information needs to be gathered, what tasks need to be accomplished, and who will be responsible for these tasks.

Building Community -- In order to succeed at any large project there must be a community of people who support the vision and are willing to take responsibility for working toward it.

Preparation -- Much preparation is needed for a safe voyage. The kind of preparation is determined in the planning phase. To prepare for a voyage we dry-dock the canoe to ensure it is seaworthy, train the crew and navigator, and study the wind and weather patterns of regions where we plan to sail.

Risk-Taking and Continuous Orientation -- There comes a point when we must let go of the lines and set sail. In every voyage there is risk, but by being well prepared, we do our best to minimize the risk. During the voyage, conditions constantly change and new challenges, with new risks, arise. Wayfinding is continuous orientation: wayfinders uses all the available clues all the time to make decisions. We may depart from the original course and select from alternative plans in order to reach our desintation safely.

Arrival -- When we reach our destination, we celebrate our accomplishments and recognize the hard work of the community of people that supported the vision. We also take the opportunity to reflect on what we learned and experienced during the process of reaching our destination.

Sharing, Teaching -- Through education we share the lessons, experiences, and achievements of a voyage with students and the larger community, thus perpetuating what is valuable to us in what we have done.

Related Readings