Hokulea (photo by Teresa Tico)
Hokulea (photo by Teresa Tico)
Hokulea (photo by Teresa Tico)

Hundreds of school children came to see the crew of Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia in Hilo last week. With support from the Imiloa Astronomy Center and Hawaiʻi Mayor Billy Kanoi, these students brought beautiful mākana for the crew and waʻa.

Fourth grader Māhie Kelekoli visited us from Ka ʻUmeke Kaʻeo Public Charter School
Fourth grader Māhie Kelekoli visited us from Ka ʻUmeke Kaʻeo Public Charter School

Fourth grader Māhie Kelekoli visited us from Ka ʻUmeke Kaʻeo Public Charter School. He and his fellow students brought waʻa they carefully constructed at home with their families as an applied math project.

Swimming in front of Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia with their waʻa in the early morning light, they offered ʻoli and mele (chants and songs) and brought much joy and inspiration to all who were there.

Mamo Bezila, their kumu, explains that students made the waʻa models from recycled or natural items, and learned geometry, graphing, tessellations, and fractions during the design and build process.

After finishing the building phase, they children conducted float tests in the water, and the champion waʻa could hold 8.25 pounds.

Bezila shares that the experience was “lots of hard work on the part of the family, but with huge rewards. I know they will always keep it in their memory as we wait for Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia to return home.”

Educators from across Hawaiʻi and the world can share navigation, Mālama Honua, and waʻa lesson plans with each other through our Learning Center website.

For a video showcasing Hilo haumana and their dedicated teachers, please click here.

The Hōkūleʻa plans to depart Hilo on Thursday for Tahiti, pending the right weather.

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