Risks push message
THEY’VE sailed thousands of kilometres with little more than their senses to guide them.
On December 7 the crew of the traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoe, the Hokulea, will arrive in Auckland as part of a worldwide trip.
Their mission is to grow awareness of environmental issues and build a more sustainable future.
‘‘We see the voyage around the world as dangerous and it is costly but we believe the hopeful outcomes outweigh the risks,’’ Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson says.
‘‘We use the voyage itself to excite people and bring leadership together,’’ he says.
The society formed and built Hokulea in the early 1970s to renew the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging which had almost been totally lost.
The Hokulea first landed in New Zealand in 1985 on its Voyage of Rediscovery around the Pacific.
Native Hawaiians and Maori share ancestral links and some of the issues around the loss of traditions were being felt here.
Navigating without instruments means relying on position of the sun, stars and other markers to find your way.
The crew got lost a num- ber of times but it’s been an invaluable experience for the young navigators, Thompson says.
‘‘Where it looks like we were going in circles on our online tracking map, we were. Where it looks like we got lost, we did,’’ he says.
‘‘We want to allow the learning process to happen. We embrace getting lost.’’
The voyage has gone relatively smoothly so far, he says.
‘‘There are always issues but not big issues. We haven’t been hit by a severe storm yet,’’ he says.
The Hokulea was joined by escort boat Hikianalia.
The canoes departed Pago Pago in American Samoa on October 16 and sailed 27,000km to reach the Bay of Islands on November 11.
Education is the key to achieving the voyage mission, Thompson says.
The society has been working with education leaders in Hawaii to try and bring more of an environmental focus to learning.
Hokulea and Hikianalia will sail into the Waitemata Harbour on December 7 along with three other waka from Fiji, Samoa and the Cook Islands which are returning from the World Parks Congress in Sydney.
They will stop at Orakei Marae from 9am till 1pm before a civic event at Karanga Plaza, Wynyard Quarter, at 3pm.
Special mission: Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson is in New Zealand after sailing here on a traditional Hawaiian canoe.