Risks push mes­sage

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

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.

Photo: CHRIS SKEL­TON

Spe­cial mis­sion: Poly­ne­sian Voy­ag­ing So­ci­ety pres­i­dent Nainoa Thomp­son is in New Zealand after sail­ing here on a tra­di­tional Hawai­ian ca­noe.

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