Hōkūleʻa, which sparked a cultural reawakening in Hawaiʻi, has embarked on yet another inspiring journey, this time around the world with Hikianalia. Their theme “Caring for Our Mother Earth” is what they hope to share with each community that they visit.
“It is about envisioning that world that we need to have and having the responsibility and the courage to go there. In the essence, that’s what this voyage is about,” says Nainoa Thompson, who is Master Navigator of Hōkūleʻa.
For Billy Richards, a member of Hōkūleʻa’s 1976 maiden voyage, the journey he will now make around the world will continue to push the impossible.
“My personal dream was to relive the mandatory voyages of our ancestors and going to Tahiti was just a first step. But the idea of going around the world, I thought about going around the world, but we never thought about it on Hōkūleʻa.”
Nainoa reflects on the history in the making. “There was a meeting here, April 1st, 2008. The ten voyaging organizations that Billy Richards is chairman of, ʻOhana Waʻa, got together, put the question on the table as a concept: Should we go around the earth, is it time?”
“So when the idea came up, we were all in,” says Billy.
Today, the question of whether or not we are ready has been answered. However, before going around the world, Hōkūleʻa must first visit her home, Hawaiʻi.
“We are going because our kuleana and duty is to respect the beauty of Hawaiʻi and it’s beautiful community. If you’re going to do that, go see them personally, take the canoes. Be there,” says Nainoa.
Their first stop is Hilo, as they follow in the wake of our ancestors.
“When we were the younger ones, we were the fore legs of the moʻo, scratching to go forward and that the back legs were the mākua who pushed the young forward and I think what’s happened now is that we’ve evolved,” says Billy. “From the fore legs, we are now the back legs pushing the next generation of voyagers forward.”
Kaʻiulani Murphy who is Apprentice Navigator of Hōkūleʻa understands this intergenerational connection first hand.
“There’s a lot of levels involved. One is definitely that effort to continue voyaging, so those of us who had the great fortune to learn from awesome mentors are being expected to kind of step up as leadership when this voyage- at the end of this voyage.”
“I think what’s good about what we’re doing now is that if we can train enough people and if we share the knowledge that we’ve gained over these last 38 years, then hopefully it’ll continue for another 38, 40, 50 years,” says Billy.
“The voyage is not about you, it’s about children who are not even born, it’s about the story that shifts education, it changes the way we see the world because the world is changing so fast,” says Nainoa.
And a story we will tell through the lenses of our camera crews who are onboard Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia. Let us sail together on the Worldwide Voyage right here on ʻŌiwi TV.