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Dedication: to Myron Bennett "Pinky" Thompson (1924-2001), who provided visionary leadership as president of the Society from 1979-2001.
Acknowledgement: The painting in the PVS Banner, “Kaha‘i entering Kāne‘ohe Bay,” is by Herb Kawainui Kane, a founder of PVS.

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2012 Updates

April 15: Hōkūle‘a’s Statewide Sail

On April 13, Friday, Hōkūle’a departed from Sand Island and sailed to her ‘āina hānau (birthplace) at Hakipu’u and Kualoa, on the windward side of O‘ahu, where she was first launched 37 years ago. This is the first stop in her Statewide Sail, scheduled for April 16 to August 7.

Click here for a map and schedule. Click on icons on the map for background information about the stops.

The Statewide Sail is the Hawaiʻi-based start of the World Wide Voyage.

On Saturday, the crew participated in the City’s Canoe Festival, giving on-board tours of Hōkūleʻa. The voyaging canoe is scheduled to depart on April 16 for Kauna‘oa Bay, on the west coast of Kohala, on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, for a 3-day stop. After that Hōkūleʻa will head for Kawaihae, north of Kauna‘oa, for a week-long stay.

Kawaihae is homeport of Nā Kalai Wa‘a Moku o Hawai’i and ‘āina hānau of the voyaging canoes Makali‘i and Alingano Maisu, a gift for navigator Mau Piailug, launched in 2007. Maisu sailed to Satawal, Micronesia, that year with Hōkūle‘a and was presented to Mau at his home island to honor his life-long achievements and to thank him for sharing his traditional navigation and voyaging knowledge with the people of the Pacific in order to keep it alive and growing.

Rounding Kawaihoa, Maunalua Bay, on the south side O‘ahu.

Sailing to the windward side of O‘ahu, for Hakipu‘u-Kualoa

Captain Bruce Blankenfeld

March 12: Official Herb Kawainui Kāne web site

The Herb K. Kāne Family Trust has opened an Official Herb Kawainui Kāne web site at Herb was a founder of the voyaging society; one of his paintings, “Kaha‘i entering Kāneʻohe Bay,” appears in the PVS web site banner above.

March 8: Launching Hōkūle‘a

Click here for a narrative of the launching, by Karen Holman: “Hōkūle‘a Reborn.” Excerpts below.

For days, nature has been speaking to us with heightened intensity in the Hawaiian Islands. Winds sing through the valleys with fervor and trees follow the dance, bending impossibly in all directions. A thick blanket of cloud molds to the contours of the Wai‘anae range, caressing her shape seamlessly. Streams rage to the sea, and every crevice of the Ko’olau range holds a waterfall.  Sheets of lightening illuminate the night, while thunder resonates vibrations through the Earth. This has been nature’s mood for days but in the pre-dawn hours of March 8, 2012, she seems to stop and take a deep breath, and the elements subside into calm. Today, Hōkūle‘a returns to the sea. A canoe is reborn, and with her, so too are we…all those inspired by her, the hands that together re-created her, and the children to be reached in her future journeys. It is a timeless moment and also, a window in time… into past and present, hope and possibility. (Excerpt from “Hōkūle‘a Reborn.”)

Under the Full Moon, Kealoha Hoe and Attwood Makanani Prepping Hōkūle‘a for Launching

A full moon hangs low in the sky and anticipation fills the air as people busy about preparing Hōkūle‘a to touch the sea again. It is her birthday and exactly 37 years since her first launching at Kualoa. For the last 18 months she has been on land in dry dock, where she was rebuilt by many hands, with care and love. I have felt a profound privilege to be alongside her and to be a part of tremendous unity, of a community, building together, putting our hearts and hands into making her stronger and just as beautiful. In the early morning when the sky is still dark and planets are visible, it is time for her to go back to the ocean and fulfill her purpose. It is a historic moment. Some seek solitude or a moment of silence with her. One puts his arms around her hull and presses his ear to her side. In this moment, I can see the tenderness we all share for Hōkūle‘a. She is a living treasure, with a life and spirit of her own. (Excerpt from “Hōkūle‘a Reborn.”)

Kaina Holomalia Wrapping Maile on the Back Spreader

1976 Crew Member Billy Richards, Representing ‘Ohana Wa‘a, the Family of the Canoe, the statewide canoe building and voyaging organization.

As dawn emerges, we gather for a blessing.  Though the clouds have parted and the wind softened, a mist from the valleys still surrounds us, noted as symbolic of kupuna, our ancestors that join us in the re-birthing of Hōkūle‘a. We form a circle and are asked to let any stresses drift out to sea so that our blessing is positive. The conch is blown in the four cardinal directions and the three tips of ti leaves, representing ‘ohana (mother, father, child) are used to bless her with water in a purification ceremony or pikai. Billy Richards speaks of the ‘ohana wa’a, all those who have sailed with her, a family with Mau Piailug as our father and Hōkūle‘a as our mother. We are their descendants on this voyage, this succession of knowledge and leadership to the next generation.

Nainoa Thomspon, Bruce Blankenfeld, and Bob Perkins also speak. Their words remind us of this single moment in time, of the power of community coming together. They remind us that the community rebuilt Hōkūle‘a, and Hōkūle‘a rebuilt the community. Many hands, with love, compassion and aloha, have touched the canoe and shared with her. She is a symbol of what the community can do united. To rebuild her has allowed us a precious intimacy with Hōkūle‘a, transforming us all. Tears well in my eyes and it is hard to know if they are tears of joy, loss, or some unknown entwining of emotion I cannot describe.

“Let her be free to go to the sea, it is her time, let her go, she thanks you.”

(Excerpt from “Hōkūle‘a Reborn.”)

Kaniela Akaka, with Billy Richards, Bruce Blankenfled, and Bob Perkins, blessing Hōkūle‘a

Crew Pule (Prayer)

It is a moving sight to see the many hands holding her and guiding her back to the blue. We pause before reaching the water. Hōkūle‘a is symbolic of a lei needle as she continues touching shores around the Earth. In blessing her, we form a circle, a lei around the canoe of linked hands, and share a prayer before she goes back in the ocean. In the same tradition as our ancestors, a chant resonates.

"Pehea ka wa‘a, pono anei?" (How is the canoe? Is it good?)

“‘Ae maika‘i loa ka wa‘a Hōkūle‘a!” (Yes, the canoe Hōkūle‘a is indeed very good!)

(Excerpt from “Hōkūle‘a Reborn.”)

Into the Ocean, with the Sun Rising

We let her go gently, and in the golden light that appears only as the sun rises or falls into the horizon, her hulls touch salt water. A crewmember stands on her deck, with arms outstretched like an ‘iwa bird. Others guide her in from below, immersed in the water beside her and smiling broadly. In the very moment that Hōkūle‘a glides into the sea, a rainbow emerges in the sky. Throughout our reflections of dry dock, a recurrent theme has been the word ‘magic’. There is certainly magic in this moment, and as her hulls meet the sea, salt water seems to flow through us all, stirring exploration and the ocean inside of us. The rainbow continues to touch the horizon behind the canoe, and at one moment seemingly illuminates the crewmembers themselves, who steer her sweep for the first time in so many months. (Excerpt from “Hōkūle‘a Reborn.”)


Nainoa and Kaniela after the Launching

2012 Membership Drive: A Message from Nainoa

Aloha mai kākou,

nainoaAs many of you who have visited, volunteered or read our newsletters this year know, 2011 has been an extraordinary year of restoration and rebirth for Hōkūle‘a. The Polynesian Voyaging Society has been humbled and honored to have our volunteers donate more than 12,000 hours of work – so far – rebuilding and renewing Hōkūle‘a in the most extensive dry dock of her lifetime. (See Nov. 19 progress report below.)

When Hōkūle‘a reenters the water in early 2012, she will be two feet wider; 1,000 pounds lighter; and her front mast will be two feet taller. All of the wood rot from 36 years of voyaging has been removed. After sailing the equivalent of six times around the earth, Hōkūle‘a’s hulls – designed by PVS founder and mentor Herb Kawainui Kane – will be the only original elements of her configuration.

She will be stronger, lighter, more stable and safer, as a requirement for her planned 2012 statewide sail and her three-year Worldwide Voyage (WWV), slated to begin in 2013.

None of these actions or plans would be possible without the support of our members, volunteers, donors, staff, crew and leadership. Numerous generations and types of supporters – from school children to kūpuna – have inspired and reminded us during our dry dock to remain true to our
voyaging values and to our kuleana to our canoe, our home and each other.

The rebuilt Hōkūle‘a, while the same iconic canoe, will be a gift from one generation to the next, with the capability to sail for at least another 36 years. Hōkūle‘a is a living part of our genealogy. The 2011 dry dock may have far exceeded our estimates for time and money required, but the generous response of our extended community has also exceeded our expectations and leaves us grateful and hopeful for the next generation’s ability to continue Hōkūle‘a’s legacy.

We invite you to continue on our journey with us as a 2012 member of our non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization via a tax-deductible donation. As before, we will provide you with a membership decal, and – based on the level of your contribution – you may also receive a 2012, dark blue, cotton, short-sleeved T-shirt printed with an original drawing by a WWV crewmember from Kaua‘i, Keala Kai. We also offer the option of gift memberships to share during the holiday season.

2011 tshirtMahalo for your participation in and support for our preparations toward our WWV challenge: “Becoming a catalyst for positive change in Hawai‘i by constantly learning from and nurturing relationships worldwide that share the values of, and responsibility for, caring for Island Earth, her oceans and children, while honoring our heritage and perpetuating our culture.”

With you as a virtual or real crew member aboard the restored Hōkūle‘a, PVS will be able to continue to honor our teachers and mentors, while embracing the responsibility of passing on Hōkūle‘a and her heritage and values to new generations.

Me ke Ha‘aha‘a,

Nainoa Thompson, President

(Photo top right: Nainoa on Hōkūle‘a, by George Lee, Star Bulletin Archives)

Questions? Contact PVS at (email) or (808) 842-1101 (phone).

You can also make a donation to support the restoration of Hōkūle‘a and the mission of PVS via Google Checkout:


Te Mana O Te Moana (“The Spirit of the Sea”)

Follow the Pacific Voyagers, seven wa‘a, or canoes, with crews from Aotearoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, and pan-Pacific (2), whose mission is to teach young people traditional knowedge and respect for the ocean as well as increase scientfic knowledge and awareness of "the costs which ocean climate change will have for us all."