Wyland Paints Mural With Hōkūleʻa Voyagers in American Samoa

Robert Wyland, Polynesian Voyaging Society crewmember and renowned marine artist, was inspired to paint a mural at the Ocean Center in Pago Pago, American Samoa, Tuesday.

Wyland enlisted the help of Nainoa Thompson, president of Polynesian Voyaging Society and master navigator, and local artists, to paint a life-size mural of marine life. Wyland flew into Pago Pago on Monday and on Tuesday he received permission to paint. The artwork took approximately half a day to finish.

The Ocean Center is engaging youth and communities with a message of ocean conservation, said Wyland. This is the same message Nainoa and Hōkūleʻa are championing, “and that’s where we need to put the light today,” said Wyland.

Nainoa and Wyland in front of this honu mural dedicated to the people of Samoa and the teachers who made this World Wide Voyage possible.
Nainoa and Wyland in front of this honu mural dedicated to the people of Samoa and the teachers who made this World Wide Voyage possible. (Photo by Oiwi TV)

Wyland was asked to accompany Hōkūleʻa and her crewmembers to the United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States in Apia, Samoa. Wyland accepted the invitation to join the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage and do his part to help educate and inspire generations about conservation of our beautiful Island Earth.

“We need to raise awareness about the issues facing our ocean and our water planet in general… We need a healthy world and the way we are going to achieve that is people learning what they can do,” Wyland said.

Wyland will be sailing with Hōkūleʻa and her crewmembers to Apia, Samoa and is planning on asking community members if he can paint a mural for them. The paintings will represent the voyage mission and the effort to protect our oceans.

“I am just proud to be here in American Samoa to be part of this great adventure of our day. It’s one of the most creative ways I’ve ever seen for people to see the connection to the one ocean that we have. We have only one and it’s a beautiful story that the Hōkūleʻa is telling and I’m proud to be a small part of it.”

The Hawaiian name for this journey, Mālama Honua, means “to care for our Island Earth” and is taking Hōkūleʻa and her sister canoe Hikianalia across Earth’s oceans to grow the global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports and 26 nations, including 12 of UNESCO‘s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017.

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Changing Planet


Communications Assistant at the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Todd Yamashita is a fourth generation resident of Molokai where he is owner of the island's only newspaper. Complimenting his background in press and media, Yamashita also has training and experience in graphic design and identity branding; and in political campaigning and policy development.