In the past six months, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia have sailed 2,500 nautical miles, visited 33 communities, and received more 60,000 volunteer hours of support during their Mālama Hawaiʻi journey. The most significant statistic, however, is the 20,000 school children that have connected with the canoes, far more than the benchmark of 5,000.
“So right now we’re at one out of ten school-aged children have come to the canoe. Fundamentally from those statistics we are both comfortable and excited that we can make the claim that Hawaii is with us,” said master navigator Nainoa Thompson.
One of the Worldwide Voyage’s core missions is to engage learners across the globe. The Promise to Children outlines the strong bond between the voyaging and education communities starting in Hawai’i.
“It’s a simple document that is written by and authored by educational leadership in Hawaii. But it’s a document that we put on Hōkūleʻa, and we take it around the world,” said Thompson.
More than 175 education organizations have already committed to support the Worldwide Voyage, including the Department of the Education and the University of Hawai’i.
“It’s probably one of the most exciting learning opportunities not only for our teachers who are going to be on the crews, but for our students to see something that is global, 21st century, but yet very grounded in our tradition and culture. I think it’s going to give us all in the whole state a sense of pride and a sense of purpose. And that will last beyond the voyage. It’ll be a lifetime.,” said DOE superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.
“For me, it’s beyond the role of the University of Hawaii. This is just an incredible opportunity for the best of Hawaii to share ourselves with the entire world,” said David Lassner, interim president of the University of Hawaiʻi.
For the 92 teachers who have sailed as crew members, long-term investment starts with current students.
“The kids that are coming up, they’re going to learn skills that I learned at a much younger age. They’re going to be better prepared as people. And that hopefully the source of future navigators, future crew members will be able to train them so well that they’ll be crew members in the next five years,” said Michelle Kapana-Baird, a teacher at Kaiser High School.
“The voyage is way bigger than the 12 on Hōkūleʻa. That’s probably the most important thing today. It’s much bigger than that. And this document helps us stay focused so in early June 2017 when we come home, did we do anything? Did we change anything?” said Thompson.