Just 200 nautical miles north of ʻĀpia, Hōkūleʻa came upon this pristine jewel in the immense Pacific, the island of Olohega, more commonly referred to as Swains Island.
“Swains island as you can see, is a remote island. Through studies, it is one of the important stopovers for sea-farers,” says Swains Island Representative, Alex Jennings.
It is the prime example of how a determined people, with a deep connection to place, have sustained themselves and the island’s resources thru changing times and industry and now want to position there home as a model for sustainable living.
“Everything on this island was strictly conserved from our fish resources which is our greatest source of food was our ocean,” says Jennings.
Swains once supported a booming copra industry that yielded 40 tons of dried coconut every 3 months. To ensure this thriving eco-system, they planted over 800 acres of kumu niu, or coconut trees, maintaining balance in this precious environment.
“In the essence of here is what Hawaiʻi should be. That becomes both the reality and a symbol of the things that we hope for in our islands. Swains is this place with an amazing history, Swains is this place that it should be a school for the Earth. My sense is what’s missing in the rest of the world that’s in Swains, is that there is a deep connection between all of you to a single place on the planet which you call home,” says Thompson.