Kūpuna, mākua, and keiki recently gathered at Hukilau Beach to greet Hōkūleʻa and her crew for their long-awaited first visit to Lāʻie.
“There is so much aloha that the community has for Hōkūleʻa and for the whole idea of voyaging,” said Kawika Eskaran, captain of Iosepa.
This aloha is manifested in the voyaging canoe Iospea, which is supported by the BYU-Hawaii and Lāʻie communities. Iosepa was launched from these same shores in 2001 and its vision has been reaffirmed by Hōkūleʻa’s presence.
“I know there’s a lot of liability involved, especially we, who belong to the University and there’s liability with students, so what we’ve tried to do over the past 12 years is just develop a track record and show that we actually know what we’re doing. So to have Hōkū come, hold hands with us, lends credibility to all of our efforts,” explained Kawika.
“Hōkūleʻa has given them the strength to continue their journey with Iosepa,” remarked Koʻolau Hawaiʻi Civic Club Member, Dr. Francine Palama.
This collective voyage of the BYU and Lå’ie communities will continue in a younger generation who are connect with Iosepa, Hōkūleʻa, and our ancient seafaring traditions.
“It has been awesome for the children to connect, not only through ʻāina, through classroom, but through video, through all the pictures, all the stories, especially for today. It will inspire the children because they will see it as their own Iosepa, to see that there is another canoe that has a rich history and they too can also compare their history with what’s happening with Iosepa,” said Dr. Palama.
“You could use it as a metaphor for everyone’s lives: voyaging into the future, into the unknown, yet we hold hands as a crew, as a community you know, to meet the hardest of life’s challenges together,” reflected Kawika.
Regarding Hōkūleʻa’s upcoming voyage, Dr. Palama stated that “It is the spirit and mana of Laʻie that they take back with them on the ocean as they travel,”