The Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule’a (“Star of Gladness” in Hawaiian) is circumnavigating the globe on a voyage whose goals are as impressive as they are important. Hokule’a was built by the Polynesian Voyaging Society in the 1970s, more than 600 years after any other voyaging canoe existed.
Designed and sailed using skills that very nearly went extinct, Hokule’a seeks the wisdom of all indigenous peoples in a search for ideas on dealing with global concerns applied on a global scale. Appealing particularly to students and their communities, Hokule’a brings attention to the message of Mālama Honua – “to care for the Earth” in Hawaiian.
Hokule’a will be welcomed into Hampton Roads waters by a flotilla on Friday, April 22. She will then stay docked in Newport News for the Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 23 at the James River Fishing Pier. The celebration will include tours of Hokule’a, educational activities for families, and chances to meet the crew members. On Sunday, April 24, Hokule’a will sail to Yorktown for a traditional welcoming ceremony with Native American tribes followed by an afternoon celebration and tours of Hokule’a.
Throughout the visit, Hokule’a’s crew will participate in multiple public programs. On Thursday, April 28, the crew will deliver a special lecture on Traditional Polynesian Wayfinding at the Museum. On Friday, April 29, the Museum will host Exploring the Seas Homeschool Day with the Polynesian Voyaging Society. There will also be special opportunities for Hampton Roads students to visit with the crew in their own classrooms.
Hokule’a will remain at Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown until May 8, when the canoe will continue sailing north, eventually visiting Washington, D.C., in time for a possible presidential declaration of National Oceans’ Month.
Submitted by Jenna Dill, The Mariners Museum, April 11, 2016