The Marine Education Training Center (METC) is an off campus learning facility of Honolulu Community College. It’s a multipurpose building in the industrial area of Sand Island that sits on the western edge of Honolulu Harbor leading out to the Pacific Ocean. Honolulu Community College uses the METC building to instruct students on modern and traditional marine education from boat construction, map reading, weather study, navigation and sailing. It’s also the home to Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoes, which are both used for students to learn about traditional navigation. For the past three years, the canoes have been preparing for their Worldwide Voyage, which involves both canoes sailing across Earth’s oceans to grow the global movement toward a more sustainable future. The voyage will span nearly four years, travel over 47,000 nautical miles and visit 85 ports in 26 different countries. Both canoes have no carbon footprint and will visit ports to exchange ideas and cultural knowledge to improve the care of our Island Earth.
On May 17th, 2014 Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia culminated their preparations with a launch from METC on O’ahu to Hilo, and departed from Hilo to Tahiti on May 30th, 2014 to officially launch the Worldwide Voyage. Over 1,000 people showed up to METC to see the two wa’a (canoes) off, say their goodbyes and give their best wishes to the crew. There was chanting by crew members and Hawaiian community leaders, multiple hula halau’s performed with each telling a different aspect of the voyage and music performed by Makana, Snowbird Bento, Paula Fuga and more. Ocean Elders Jackson Browne, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Captain Don Walsh and Jean-Michel Cousteau came to congratulate fellow Elder Nainoa Thompson and crew on this historic event. As it came closer to launch, each crew member was surrounded by their family to say goodbyes and well-wishes in an emotional mix of excitement, pride and focus. At time of launch, everybody in the crowd, over 1,000 plus crew members joined hands and sang “Hawai’i Aloha” together led by Melveen Leed. The two wa’a then pushed off of METC and were escorted out of Honolulu Harbor by over 60 outrigger canoes paddling along side them out past the harbor entrance, out past the Honolulu skyline, out past Diamond Head and out to the rest of the World.
“When we started the Polynesian Voyaging Society in the early 1970’s,” said Polynesian Voyaging Society President and Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson, “The Hawaiian language was a whisper, now, and I say this with all humility, the World needs help and needs to listen to the Hawaiian voice. Sustainability and caring for Island Earth is in the traditions of Hawaiian ancestors for the World to use."
Eternally inspired by the strong tradition of giving an offering or tribute in Polynesian culture, OluKai is honored to announce the brand’s partnership with the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage of prestigious sailing canoes, the Hōkūleʻa and Hikiananlia, built with the same ingenuity that brought the first Polynesians to the archipelago of Hawaii. OluKai will contribute time and product to the 3+ year Worldwide Voyage; the brand will supply SS15 products to all the proficient watermen and women who will crew the voyage to wear test and share their feedback on the performance of each shoe. The Hōkūleʻa represents a large part of OluKai’s company mission – honoring and preserving Hawaiian culture and traditions.
Officially departing Hawaii the week of May 26th, weather permitting, the Worldwide Voyage will highlight diverse cultural and natural treasures and the importance of working together to protect them. Covering 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports and 26 countries, the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage will sail across the Earth’s oceans to join and grow the global movement toward a more sustainable world. Crew members on both the Hōkūleʻa and Hikiananlia will sail using the 3,000 year old traditional method of Polynesian deep sea navigation, with no modern instruments.
“As a company, we feel honored and humbled to partner with the remarkable Hōkūleʻa ‘Ohana,” says Kerry Konrady director of marketing at OluKai. “Over the course of the 3+ year Worldwide Voyage, the Hōkūleʻa and Hikiananlia will touch so many lives and spread such an important message of sustainability to benefit future generations to come.”
OluKai Konohiki and legendary waterman, Archie Kalepa, will join the Hōkūleʻa for several legs of the journey from July to August.
“When I joined the OluKai ‘Ohana full-time as a Konohiki, I merged my commitment to preserving our local culture and traditions with that of OluKai’s strong commitment and dedication to the Polynesian culture,” says Kalepa. “The Malama Honua mission to provide knowledge to help better protect our Earth and spread Aloha is something that is very near and dear to my heart. I feel blessed to be a part of it.”
The Hawaiian name for this voyage, Malama Honua, means “to take care of our Earth.” The Worldwide Voyage means to show the world how we can engage all of Island Earth – by practicing how to live sustainably, while sharing, learning, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of this precious place we all call home.
To learn more about the voyage visit: www.hokulea.com
In the heart of Honolulu, in an area known as Kaka’ako, muralist Kamea Hadar is caked in paint. Splatters, drops and dots have taken to his clothing and body like a second skin. He has two printed pieces of computer paper on the ground that he references after every few calculated strokes. There is a face on the paper and it is glaring at him. Fiercely. The face is of the late Master Navigator Mau Piailug.
Mau “Papa Mau” Piailug was a Micronesian navigator from the Carolinian island of Satawal, best known as a teacher of traditional, noninstrument wayfinding methods for deepsea voyaging. Mau's Carolinian navigation system—which relies on navigational clues using the sun and stars, winds and clouds, seas and swells, and birds and fish was passed down to him by his elders through teachings in the oral tradition.
The connection between Kamea’s mural and Papa Mau dates back to the early 1970’s and the start of the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Hawai’i. Many anthropologists believed that Polynesia was too vast to be navigated and was settled and discovered accidentally. A small group of educators and Native Hawaiians in Honolulu believed that ancient Polynesians purposely migrated to Hawai’i on double hulled canoes using noninstrument wayfinding methods, like the ones that Mau mastered. This small group formed the Polynesian Voyaging Society in 1973 and set out to confirm that belief by retracing those migrations with their newly built double hulled canoe named Hōkūle‘a (Star of Gladness). The only problem was, there were no Native Hawaiian navigators alive to provide teachings and information. They reached out to Papa Mau in Micronesia to come and teach them and he agreed.
This was so significant because there were only six people alive in the world who knew this ancient artform and it was unusual for Master Navigators to teach pupils outside of their own culture (Mau being Micronesian and this group being Hawaiian). Through Polynesian Voyaging Society’s founder Dr. Ben Finney, Mau earned a special fellowship at the EastWest Center at University of Hawai’i and began working with the Hōkūle‘a crew in 1975. The next year, 1976, he navigated Hōkūle‘a and crew to Tahiti on her maiden voyage where they were welcomed by 17,000 people half the population of Tahiti. Over the next 30+ years, Papa Mau taught traditional navigation to many young Hawaiians and Micronesians. Before he passed in 2010, Papa gave Pwo status (Master Navigator) to five Polynesian Voyaging Society members in 2007: Nainoa Thompson, Bruce Blankenfeld, Chad Kalepa Baybayan, Milton “Shorty” Bertlemann and Chad ‘Onohi Paishon. These five members have gone on to teach many more, keeping the art of traditional navigation alive.
Which brings us back to Kaka’ako and Kamea staring into the eyes of his mural. It is late April 2014 and while Kamea is stroke by stroke working on this tribute to Papa Mau, the Polynesian Voyaging Society is preparing for the biggest Voyage in its 41 year history. Hōkūle'a and sister canoe Hikianalia will be sailing across Earth’s oceans for a 3 year Worldwide Voyage to expand the global movement toward a more sustainable future. Starting in late May 2014, this Voyage is being led by the five Pwo Navigators taught by Papa Mau from Polynesian Voyaging Society and their younger pupils. And so the artform lives on.
Kamea worked with a group of kids from 808 Urban and artist Keola Rapozo on structuring this mural located on the corner of Cooke and Auahi Streets.
“The 808 Urban kids are always excited to be a part of any project and to have a chance to paint a wall. All of them knew about Hōkūle‘a and Polynesian Voyaging Society, but many didn’t know who Papa Mau was,” said Hadar. “The project was a great way to educate the kids on who he was in a medium that was fun and interesting to them.”
Regarding the specific image of Papa Mau he chose, Kamea added, “I spoke to many people who knew Mau, including Pwo Navigators Bruce Blankenfeld and Nainoa Thompson, as well as 1976 maiden voyage crew member, Uncle Billy Richards. When I was down at Polynesian Voyaging Society headquarters a few of us were looking over photos and I was trying to decide which references to use for the portrait. I picked one that I really liked and without seeing it, Uncle Billy started to describe in great detail his favorite image of Papa Mau. It turned out to be the same photo! Uncle Billy said that it reminded him of a quote: "To be a navigator, you have to be fierce." I ended up painting that quote into the mural. He said that Papa Mau was an amazingly friendly and happy guy, but when he was on the water he was deadly serious about the job at hand. When we looked at the photo together Billy told me "that's the look, the fierce look that told you he'll get you there (Tahiti),” and that’s when I knew I had portrait for the mural.”