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Thousands welcome back Hokule'a

Rnz
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Thousands of people crowded into Ala Moana Beach Park on Saturday to watch the Hokule'a, a traditional Hawaiian canoe, make its return to Oahu after a three-year voyage that included visits to 150 ports in 27 countries.

After more than 40,000 nautical miles at sea, the Hokule'a was met just outside of the shores of Hawaii by a fleet of canoes from across the Pacific, who led the Hokule'a to shore, where the crew were greeted with flower leis (necklaces) and traditional Hawaiian chants.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs community's Engagement Director Mehana Hind said locals spent days making hundreds of flower leis for the crew, and indigenous chants were written especially for the homecoming.

Mehana Hind knows family members who have been on board the Hokule'a.

"There have been about 250 crew members sailing the Hokule'a over the several years of travel," she said.

"It was so good that for the vaka's final leg from Tahiti to Hawaii, two female navigators were at the helm."

She said this voyage had really signalled the ushering in and passing on of knowledge from one generation to the next.

"We are really proud of the work that our va'akolua has done with many thousands of thousands of people who are inspired to look within and to care for their natural resources and to take care of those systems that are timeless," she said.

"Keeping our islands thriving, that is what we are most proud of and this is very significant for us and our little old islands in the middle of the Pacific ocean."








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