On June 20, 2017, at approximately 9:45 a.m. Hawaiʻi Standard Time, legendary voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa sailed into the harbor at Oʻahu’s Magic Island after completing a 42,000-mile open-ocean journey around the world.
Nearly 50,000 people gathered to celebrate the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and the conclusion of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines. Through sharing indigenous wisdom, groundbreaking conservation and preservation initiatives, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of the Island Earth, the epic journey has inspired practices to protect our environment for future generations.
Hōkūleʻa’s return to Hawaiʻi marks the first time in history that a Polynesian voyaging canoe has sailed around the world. The voyage was led by a crew of skilled navigators using ancient Polynesian wayfinding techniques, observing the stars, ocean, winds, birds and other signs of nature as mapping points for direction.
“The wisdom and knowledge of our ancestors coupled with inspirational, forward-thinking about connecting people and cultures to preserve our Island Earth, allowed us to create an unprecedented movement called Mālama Honua and navigate toward a more sustainable world,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “Our voyage continues. We must keep inspiring the stewardship of our earth, perpetuation of our culture and learning how to care for environment and the people around us.”
Themed Lei Kaʻapuni Honua, meaning “A Lei Around The World,” the homecoming celebration honored the journey of connecting cultures and people across the globe. Dignitaries, leaders, sponsors, partners and the community joined the Polynesian Voyaging Society to watch as Hōkūleʻa sailed into Magic Island along with a fleet of seven deep sea voyaging canoes from Hawaiʻi, Tahiti, and New Zealand. This historic return to Hawaiʻi was observed with a cultural welcoming ceremony followed by an all-day event filled with music and entertainment for the entire community.
“The State of Hawaiʻi is tremendously proud of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, crewmembers, volunteers and community partners of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage for their efforts to share our knowledge and values and work collaboratively with cultures around the world to protect our environment,” said Hawaii State Governor David Y. Ige. “As a global leader in sustainability, Hawaiʻi and its people will continue to support environmental conservation and preservation initiatives that make our world a better place.”
“The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage is a shining example of what we can accomplish together and the change we can initiate to realize a brighter future for Hawaii and the world,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “This global movement has not only encouraged stewardship of our island Earth, but also has inspired the next generation of navigators, explorers and engaged citizens who are proud of where they come from and what our culture stands for. The value and lessons from this voyage will continue to help our community thrive for years to come.”
A series of additional homecoming events are planned throughout homecoming week, including the Mālama Honua Fair and Summit, a three-day summit, will highlight the voyaging, cultural, environmental, educational and health and well-being missions of the Worldwide Voyage by sharing mālama honua “stories of hope” and voyage-inspired initiatives and activities with the public. The event’s inspirational speaker series will feature local and global speakers who have engaged with the Voyage including: Megan Smith, 3rd chief technology officer of the United States; Dieter Paulmann, founder of Okeanos Foundation for the Sea; and Ocean Elders Sylvia Earle, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Don Walsh.
The mission of the Voyage has been to spread the message of Mālama Honua (caring for Island Earth) by promoting environmental consciousness, fostering learning environments, bringing together island communities and growing a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The voyage has encouraged a resurgence of pride and respect for native cultures and has created opportunities for people throughout the world to honor our shared heritage.
Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia will continue to sail around the Hawaiian Islands to reconnect with local communities and schools to share stories and lessons learned on the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.
The Mālama Honua sail plan included more than 150 ports, 23 countries and territories, and eight of UNESCO’S Marine World Heritage sites, engaging local communities and practicing how to live sustainably. During the voyage, over 245 participating crew members, including more than 200 formal and informal educators, have helped to sail the vessel and connect with more than 100,000 people throughout the world in communities across the South Pacific, Tasman Sea, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea, including Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius, South Africa, Brazil, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cuba, the East Coast of the United States, Canada, Panama, and the Galapagos Islands.