May 17, 2014 marked the beginning of a new chapter for history here in Hawaiʻi. Hundreds gathered at the dock of the Marine Education Training Center, from which Hōkūleʻa, Hikianalia, and their crew would bid farewell to Oʻahu for the last time as they embark on their long awaited Worldwide Voyage.
“Hōkūleʻa will travel with the intrinsic knowledge of our kūpuna that have sailed before, combined with the innovation and the ingenuity of the voyagers that will be on Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia. And we anxiously wait for the new course that you will chart for the future of all of us,” said Debbie Nākānelua-Richards, Hawaiian Airlines’ community relations director.
“The voyage is not about just moving the canoe across the planet. But it is moving humanity to a larger culture that comes together that is defined by values of kindness, of care, of compassion, commitment, the responsibility of children. That’s the voyage that we have to be on. said pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson.
“One thing that I wanted to do was to come down to watch the launch of these two waka because it’s such an important part of Polynesian culture, not just Hawaiian culture, or Tahitian culture, but also for Māori culture. So seeing this traditional ocean-going waka being launched today, it was really important for me to come along. I’m looking forward to being a part of the rest of our people that will turn out in force, to welcome our Polynesian brothers and sisters when they arrive in Aotearoa,” said Jim Mathers, chief executive officer of Tē Wānanga o Aotearoa.
“He wā kūikawā ʻiʻo nō kēia ua mamake nō hoʻi wau e hōʻea no ka hīmeni ʻana no koʻu hoʻomaikaʻi ʻana i kēia waʻa ʻo Hōkūleʻa me Hikianalia, me ka poʻe a pau i paʻu ma luna o ka hana i mea e holo ai. Ua ʻike ʻia nā kai o Hawaiʻi a nā kai ma waho, akā ʻo kēia ka wā e holo ai a puni ka honua. Mahalo i nā kūpuna o kākou, no lākou ka ʻike, a pēia pū nō hoʻi me Papa Mau Piailug a me ka poʻe o ka Polynesian Voyaging Society, a me nā ʻohana e noho nei ma ka ʻāina i ka wā e haʻalele ai nā pua o ka lāhui. [I came to sing in appreciation for the canoes and for all of those who have helped to make this happen. We will now travel beyond our shores into uncharted waters around the world. Thanks to all those who’ve come before us, to those at PVS, and to all the supporters of our crew who will represent our people on this journey],” said musician Kainani Kahaunaele.
“This day was a long time coming. And so many of the communities that we had touched in the last two years, and the schools and, you know, just want to thank everybody for their prayers, their aloha and their well wishes, and just for coming down,” said pwo navigator Bruce Blankenfeld.
“I have seen people from gardeners to governors come down here that have love for the canoes and feel like they are on with us,” said apprentice navigator Austin Kino.
“I wanted to be here to represent our island as mayor, to share with the crew how proud and special this moment is, and more so, for our keiki. So on behalf of Kauaʻi and Niʻihau, and the whole state of Hawaiʻi, mahalo for being here but this is a wonderful event that is going to share Hawaiʻi with the world. Aloha,” said Kauaʻi County mayor Bernard Carvalho.
“We have the youngest canoes of the family here, Hikianalia about to follow the tutu of it all, Hōkūleʻa, and everyone in between, that has a love of voyaging, or love of the ocean, or just loves Hawaiʻi is down here to see this family keep growing and the story continues so it’s just exciting to be a part of it. It looks to me as I have imagined the first time they’ve reached Tahiti, so to bring that back to Hawaiʻi this many generations later- for Hōkūleʻa to still mean this much, it’s really special. That image would be not only the outpouring of love for one canoe, but for two canoes and really One of the big questions that they always ask us – the younger generations – that’s the goal. It’s a turnover, is can you guys keep the canoes sailing? And I look around and it’s not really a question. It’s going to be sailing, because Hawaiʻi will keep them sailing.” said Austin.