Nainoa Thompson, pwo navigator and President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society said, “You know there’s two giant voyages right. One is the physical movement of Hōkūleʻa around the world like a needle that pulls this thread to sew a lei of aloha to the places that we go to. And in doing so the earth becomes our school and itʻs a place that we learn to be responsible to the earth. But at the very same time thereʻs a second voyage. Itʻs a voyage that weʻre saying is about education, itʻs about looking at the world in a different way than we have in the last 200 years. Itʻs about relationships to place and to home. And in the end the longterm solution to saving the earth is teaching our children how to do that.”
A year and a half into the Worldwide Voyage, Hōkūleʻa is halfway around the globe and crew members are finding ways to engage Hawaiʻis communities with the voyage, especially our children.
Apprentice Navigator Austin Kino brought together Worldwide Voyage crew members, supporters, and the students of the Mālama Honua Public Charter School for a day of hands on learning at Paiko Wildlife Sanctuary, Maunalua Bayʻs last remaining wetland.
Kino explained, “In the sanctuary they’re removing invasive pickle-weed and maybe limu for the older ones, and theyʻre going to be planting native plants from the department of forestry’s nursery. The group that’s going to be walking all around is really understanding the different qualities of water we have over here and the function of wetland. And lastly we’re learning about our entire ecosystem where we have guys from the university of Hawaiʻi and Kahi Kai that are doing plankton tows with the kids on a double hulled paddling canoe to kind of get the kids to experience kind of a micro version of what we do on Hōkūleʻa. Which is, I think, very special.”
Thompson reflected, “This is a testament about the reality of taking an idea and set of values like mālama honua and acting on it. I see these childrens ankles wet, those were my ankles wet. And they are here doing the same thing I did coming to explore this oceans. These oceans have changed and so Iʻm almost coming back and seeing my childhood again through them. And in a way that today is a day that I actually see in a measurable way, that tipping point like we actually went down this very steep mountain of decline and begining to see that weʻre turning it back up. This is a day, not of decline, this is a day of renewal.”
Kino said, “Before we try and establish healthy reef systems and go after maybe commercial operators or solve politics in the community, it all starts with getting the kids here to understand why these things are important. So I think itʻs really important that they come out here, get dirty, enjoy the water, and Iʻm glad we were able to pull it off. “