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Hokule‘a to make historic visit to Honolua Bay

By Staff | Aug 3, 2017

Back home in Hawaii after its incredible, 47,000-nautical-mile Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, the Polynesian Voyaging Society canoe Hokule‘a is scheduled to visit Honolua Bay on Aug. 19, in conjunction with a community planting event. PHOTO BY BRYSON HOE COURTESY OF THE POLYNESIAN VOYAGING SOCIETY.

HONOLUA – From the mountains to the sea, the stewards of Honolua are prepping for a once-in-a-lifetime event, and the community is invited to engage in this historic experience.

The double-hulled, 62-foot voyaging canoe Hokule’a will be returning to Honolua mid-August, with sister ship Hikianalia and Maui’s pride, the Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani, sailing by her side.

“As many of you probably know, Honolua was the starting point for the Hokule’a’s first voyage to Tahiti on May 1, 1976,” Tamara Paltin recently announced on the Save Honolua Coalition (SHC) website.

“Three years ago,” the community leader’s message continued, “Hokule’a embarked on a worldwide voyage to share the message of Malama Honua (take care of the earth) with the world; and, now that Hokule’a has returned to Hawai’i nei, the crew will continue to spread the message of Malama Honua here in the Hawaiian Islands and share with us their experiences and mana’o (what they learned throughout their voyaging).”

In recognition of this momentous occasion, with the hands of many, a thousand koa trees will be planted on the mauka slopes at Wao Kele o Honolua on Saturday, Aug. 19.

Hokule‘a and sister canoe Hikianalia visited Honolua Bay in August 2013. PHOTO BY NORM BEZANE.

Canoe tours will be open to the public on Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The visual is stunning, as described by Maui’s renowned Waterman Hall of Famer, Archie Kalepa.

“On August 16, Hokule’a and Hikianalia will leave Honolulu, Sand Island, and probably sail around the back side of Lanai and come into Lahaina Town about maybe 1 to 2 p.m. At that point, probably connect with Mo’okiha, and we’re going to sail all three along the west coast of Maui; and then out in the middle of the channel, tack back in to Honolua Bay. That’s going to happen Thursday evening (Aug. 17).”

Kalepa, having voyaged on different legs of the global crossing aboard the Hokule’a, is coordinating the seaside logistics during this important event on behalf of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

He stressed that the scheduling of all associated offshore activities are weather-permitting,

“It’s going to be a very subtle arrival,” Kalepa advised. “The reason is because the official welcoming isn’t until Saturday,” 8 a.m.

Pomaika’i Kaniaupio-Crozier, conservation manager of Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve, is the brainchild of the planting of the 1,000 koa trees and is organizing activities onshore.

“Traditionally, anytime there was an occurrence to be remembered or honored, a grove was planted of niu (coconut) or koa or something that would be a living treasure,” Kaniaupio-Crozier said.

The Save Honolua Coalition will be partnering with the Pu’u Kukui Watershed crew, Aha Moku, Polynesian Voyaging Society as well as the local canoe clubs to help coordinate an anticipated crowd of thousands at Honolua to greet the crew with cultural protocol as they come ashore on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. as well as the walk with our community to Wao Kele o Honolua (formerly Field 52) to plant 3,000 native trees, including the 1,000 koa.

Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua Cultural Advisor Clifford Nae’ole is “excited about this, because the koa trees – an entity of the land – were transformed into an entity of the ocean by our canoes. Now, the canoe returns to give back to the land – a perfect example of Malama Honua.”

The event is not exclusive to the West Side, to the Pu’u Kukui Watershed or the Polynesian Voyaging Society – all are invited.

Kalepa said, “Everybody in this community is a part of this. I cannot stress enough about how we want all of the community to participate on every level,” he said.

SHC is scheduling a cleanup on Aug. 12, commencing at 8 a.m.

Twelve-hundred students from Kamehameha Schools-Maui (Pukalani) will lead the forces on Friday.

“They’re coming to help set up. They’re gonna help plant keiki koa, dig some holes and prepare us for Saturday’s big event,” Kalepa added.

With thousands anticipated, parking and traffic control is being managed by the Maui Police Department.

“On the first day, Friday, we have four officers working. Two will be down on the bridge controlling the contraflow of the bridge area and crossing of the kids as well. There is going to be two officers up on the top near the parking area,” MPD Officer Corey Tom advised.

“Saturday, I guess we’re predicting about 5,000 people, so it’s going to be a lot of congestion. We have six officers that day, so we’ll have the same two on the bottom, we’re going to have two at the parking area; we’ll also have another two further north in the turnaround area assisting people who are turning around, shuttle busses and all that. That is the same for Sunday as well.”

The parking area will be at Lipoa Point, Paltin said. “If you turn in the surfers’ access, it will be immediately to the right (north).”

Les Potts, the current caretaker of Honolua, is taking the lead on parking, working with the Maui Fire Department and Doug Pitzer to clear the fields before the busy weekend.

Overflow vehicles will be directed to park “along the bay itself.”

Roberts Hawaii has volunteered to provide shuttle services on Saturday and Sunday free-of-charge from the parking site to the bay, Maui Office Manager Gary Collins told the Lahaina News.

HAMER (Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research) Executive Director Mark Deakos will be on hand “to help in anyway he can.”

Dr. Deakos, a marine scientist, is a strong advocate for “re-vegetating the landscape with native species” in an effort to stabilize the soil and stream banks, preventing land-based sediment (in the form of brown water) from reaching the ocean and reefs during heavy rains.

Then there are the canoes, the six-man and double-hullers that will be transporting the public for the tours aboard the three voyaging vessels on Saturday and Sunday.

Kahana Canoe Club Coach Michelle Kuck assumed the responsibility for that.

Then there’s meals and housing. Hotels from Kapalua to Wailea have stepped up with their support.

Monetary concerns have been voiced; “This is not a fundraising event,” Pomaika’i noted.

“There is no budget for this,” he observed. “Nobody said make one community day and here’s two million dollars. It’s up to all of us to figure out how we gonna do this.”

He cited Merriman’s as an example of ongoing community support.

Cristina Schenk is the vice president and controller for Merriman’s Restaurants.

“The native rainforest in Pu’u Kukui captures and supplies freshwater to Kapalua Resort and most of West Maui. Protecting and preserving Maui’s native habitats is a responsibility and a privilege, and Merriman’s is honored to be involved,” Schenk said.

“Merriman’s Kapalua has been donating $1 for every Caesar salad sold to the Friends of Pu’u Kukui Watershed since December of last year,” she continued.

“Merriman’s will be announcing shortly that we will be hosting a meet and greet with members of the Hokule’a crew on Monday, August 21, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Merriman’s Kapalua. Drinks and light appetizers will be provided.

“The cost is $35 per person, with 100 percent of the ticket sales going to Pu’u Kukui to assist in their effort to plant 1,000 native trees in honor of Hokule’a’s arrival.

“Reservations are required at 808-669-6400.”

Community volunteers from all quarters of the island are invited to participate, contribute and donate; visit puukukui.org.

Pomaika’i is passionate about the benefits.

“These koa trees and native plants planted by the kids, families and community will be a grove that reminds all those of the partnerships that came together to Malama Honua starting with their own home.

“A generation, decades from now, will look back at this koa grove with their children and say that they planted those trees when our Hawaiian double-hulled canoe sailed around the world, sharing the message Malama Honua, as we are one Earth.”

Nae’ole spoke from his heart, shedding some personal insight into the upcoming experience: “It allows us the special opportunity to ‘return the roots’ rather than the standard ‘returning TO the roots.’ ”

“Here now is where Maui can be the poster child for Hawaii to follow in the Malama Honua mission. Hokule’a has taken the message worldwide. Maui can set the stage at Pu’u Kukui as Hokule’a returns to plant the seeds of sustainability and pride.”