Hokule‘a embarks on a statewide Mahalo, Hawai‘i Sail
Honolua Bay is the first port of call of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Mahalo, Hawai’i Sail.
A fleet of canoes – all sizes, shapes and colors – will converge on the bay this weekend to honor the arrival of the Hokule’a and Hikianalia.
“Now that we have returned from our three-year voyage around the world, we are looking forward to reconnecting with and thanking the people of Hawai’i,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of PVS.
It will be a cultural celebration unlike any other the island has experienced in recent years.
Hokule’a was launched on her maiden voyage from Honolua in 1976, and she returns to mahalo and malama, with a planting of 4,000 koa trees at Waokele’o Honolua on Aug. 19.
A community assembly of fellow voyagers, kupuna, kumu hula and halau, cultural practitioners, canoe clubs, paddlers, kumu, students and like-minded volunteers, stewards and stakeholders of all ages will gather together to share in this unique engagement.
Lahaina waterman and Hokule’a voyager, Archie Kalepa, is one of many event organizers.
The PVS outreach is inclusive, he said.
“Everybody in this community is a part of this,” Kalepa advised, “I cannot stress enough about how we want all of the community to participate on every level.”
The full-to-packed event schedule is tentative, dependent on the weather.
The 62-foot, double-hulled voyagers are slated to depart Sand Island late night, Wednesday, Aug. 16.
The Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani, the Maui voyager, will join them on their passage along the West Maui coastline to Honolua, with the ETA at the bay, late afternoon, Thursday (Aug. 17), 4 to 5 p.m.
PVS educational outreach is on Friday (Aug. 18) with 1,200 Kamehameha Maui School kids, Kalepa explained.
“Part of what they are doing is helping us plant seedlings for the future,” the community leader said, adding, “This is all about them (the keiki).”
The official greeting is on Saturday, Aug. 19, commencing at 8:30 a.m. with protocol.
The transition of the focus from makai to mauka will take place shortly thereafter.
“The emphasis of what we are doing will be shifting: It is no longer about the canoe,” Kalepa advised.
A procession of crewmembers and cultural advisors, joining with the community, will proceed up the mountain to plant thousands of koa trees and other native plants in the Pu’u Kukui Watershed Preserve (PKW) ma kai conservation area.
Pomaika’i Kaniaupio-Crozier is the conservation manager of the preserve and the lead on all onshore activities.
He described how ceremonial protocol would change.
“Once we cross the kahawai (stream),” Kaniaupio-Crozier commented, “and that protocol happens, it is no longer about the canoe – He Wa’a He Moku, He Moku He Wa’a (A canoe is an Island, an Island is a canoe). It’s now about Malama Honua; it’s about Malama Aina; it’s about the terrestrial.
“The energy is going back to taking care of this place. – mauka to makai. All of the protocol up there is going to be held around the planting. All the oli, the mele, the hula will be all about planting,” he added.
Following the planting on Saturday, public canoe tours are planned from 2 to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The PVS reminds the public that while in the bay this is an alcohol- and smoke-free event.
Drivers should be patient about parking limitations; carpooling is recommended. Police personnel will be on-hand along with an army of volunteers to help ease any traffic situations that may arise.
On Friday, Aug. 18, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Kanahele Room at Kaanapali Beach Hotel, talk story with the crewmembers of the Hokule’a and Hikianalia. Open to the public, a panel discussion will be held by Kaiulani Murphy, Kekaimalu Lee, Mark Ellis and Pua Lincoln, as they discuss their journey, navigation techniques and life on deck these traditional Hawaiian canoes. For more information, visit www.kbhmaui.com or call 1-800-262-8450.
On Saturday night, festivities continue at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. In Salon Ballroom 1, at 7 p.m. the community will have the rare opportunity to meet some of the legendary crew members of the Hokule’a 1976, including Buffalo Keaulana, Shorty Bertelmann, Kimo Lyman, Billy Richards, Snake Ah Hee, Maka’ala Yates and more.
Clifford Nae’ole commented in retrospect, there is “history to be told… lessons to be learned…new goals to be accomplished.”
Honolua is the first of 40 stops of the eight-month Mahalo, Hawai’i Sail.
This is a time, Thompson advised, “to discover and shine the light on what people and organizations are doing to turn inspiration into action for the betterment of our island home and the earth.”
Ekolu Lindsey, Maui Cultural Lands, is an advocate of community action and personal commitment.
“Hokule’a coming back to Honolua Bay is historic! It’s a time for all people to be proud and look within ourselves, our community, and see how we can make Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, the WORLD a better place.
“Hokule’a delivered the message; it is our turn to honor that message. Each and every one of us can make a difference.”