Malama Honua: An ambitious three-year journey

Published on May 19th, 2014

The Polynesian Voyaging Society began on May 17 the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, a 47,000-mile open-ocean journey of two wa‘a (Hawaiian voyaging canoes) around the world. Several hundred people gathered to witness as the voyaging canoes left Oahu for their ambitious three-year journey.

Mālama Honua, which means “to care for our Earth,” is the Hawaiian name for the voyage, whose mission is to find and grow inspiring practices to protect our earth for future generations.

The two wa‘a sailing on the voyage, Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, will be guided by a crew of skilled navigators using ancient Polynesian wayfinding techniques, observing the stars, ocean, wind, and birds as mapping points for direction. When Hōkūle’a completed her maiden voyage in 1976, it was the first time in 600 years that a Polynesian voyaging canoe sailed across the Pacific Ocean.

“As we embark on this voyage, we are honored to join a global movement towards a more sustainable world,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “Mālama Honua allows us the special opportunity to perpetuate the legacy of our ancestors and inspire stewardship of the earth, sharing our aloha for our environment while nurturing and learning from local solutions and relationships.”

Throughout the voyage, crewmembers will educate communities and students of all ages around the world. Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia will be “floating classrooms” powered by Google products and will share knowledge through a broad range of educational opportunities and partnerships. The program seeks to support and cultivate the next generation of navigators and explorers – helping young crewmembers to embody and value the lessons of Mālama Honua that will continue to thrive long after the wa‘a and crew return home.

The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage will visit 85 ports and 26 countries, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017. The first stop for Hōkūle‘a and Hikianallia is Tahiti, where Hōkūle’a made her first voyage in 1976.

Source: Polynesian Voyaging Society

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