HONORING THE MISSION OF HŌKŪLEˋA, HER CREW, AND THEIR MESSAGE OF MALAMA HONUA: TO CARE FOR OUR ISLAND EARTH.
WE LOOK TO HAWAII’S PAST IN ORDER TO SEE OUR FUTURE
By Kymberly Marcos Pine
Wednesday July 12, 2017 was no ordinary full council session at Honolulu Hale. It was the day I was blessed to be able to help honor the successful voyage of the Hōkūleʻa, her sister Hikianalia, The Polynesian Voyaging Society, Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson, and the 245 dedicated volunteers who made up the rotating crews throughout the three year, 40,300 nautical mile journey ( over 60,000 miles when combined with Hikianalia) which visited more than 150 ports in 23 countries around the globe. I was especially proud that my Chief of Staff Matthew Caires was not only on the Hōkūleʻa during the leg that took them through a stormy Northeastern U.S. winter in 2016, but that he was also on the Hikianalia during the final five week stretch that saw both sailing canoes come home to Hawai’i.
Matt and all of the crew members in this epic journey collectively took part in the longest ocean voyage in recorded history, which for all intents and purposes did not end on the morning of June 17th when Hōkūleʻa sailed into the Ala Wai Boat Harbor. As Nainoa Thompson stated at the City Council meeting: “This was not a safe voyage, it was a dangerous voyage. But it needed to be made because the great danger was not on the voyage, it’s what is happening to the voyage of the earth.” And that is clearly reflected in the mission statement “Malama Honua”: To care for our island earth which is a message and a mission that I hope we will all continue to carry on.
Matt Caires summed it up perfectly in his address to the council: “Along the way we talk about the shooting stars, the fishing, the music, all the sunsets…all that nice stuff. That’s all part of the experience, but when it comes down to it they’re secondary to the mission of what the world wide voyage is all about. When we have a moment to reflect and we think about these things, especially when it’s the middle of the night and you’re freezing, we ask ourselves ‘Why am I really here?’. And then you realize it’s to take care of our island earth. When that realization happens you think of the warming oceans, the changing weather patterns, the poor fishing; the things we need to perpetuate our culture.” Matt went on to say, “Papa Mau (a master navigator from Micronesia who guided Hōkūleʻa on her maiden voyage in 1976) said ‘It’s your responsibility as a voyager to leave your island and bring something back to feed your people to survive.’ And that was my lesson. Today we don’t have to leave our island to go find food but I am bringing back this message that we have to create a more sustainable future for our community to survive.”
Matt, Nainoa, Papa Mau, and the mission of the Polynesian Voyaging Society—Malama Honua—are correct that the signs are all around showing us that it is time we become better stewards of our precious `aina.
The voyage of the Hōkūleʻa, circling the globe only using ancient Polynesian navigation skills, has sparked an interest in Polynesian history and culture that stretches across the Pacific from Micronesia to Hawaii and beyond. It has also reignited a pride among the people who have called these Islands home for many centuries. With that awakening comes a responsibility and an opportunity for all of us to take stock in what we have and what we need to do to keep our Hawaiian Islands, as well as our island earth a clean, sustainable and viable place for us, our keiki, and their keiki, to live. I hope and trust you will join me in continuing the Hōkūleʻa’s mission.
To learn more about this amazing voyage please visit: https://www.hokulea.com/