– New exhibit coincides with long-distance voyaging canoe’s Hawaii homecoming celebration –
HONOLULU – A ceremonial stone kava bowl presented to crewmembers of Hokulea on their 2014 visit to Maupiti atoll in French Polynesia. A wood root club offered to the crew by members of the Penobscot Nation of the Wabanaki Peoples in Maine and an intricately detailed model of Hokulea – right down to the vessel’s solar panels and rigging – presented on the canoe’s Martha’s Vineyard visit during travels along the Atlantic Coast of the United States in 2016. And a multicolored, hand-sewn mola textile art panel, representative of the indigenous peoples of Panama, gifted to the long-distance Polynesian voyaging canoe’s crew in January upon docking in Balboa.
All of the above are makana (gifts) presented to the 245 rotating crewmembers of Hokulea on the vessel’s three-year Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage. And you can now see each up-close in the new display, Malama Honua: The Worldwide Voyage of Hokulea, 2013-2017, at the Hawaii Convention Center (HCC). The exhibit coincides with Hokulea’s Lei Kaapuni Honua grand homecoming ceremony and celebration at Ala Moana Beach Park’s Magic Island, this past Saturday.
The display, which also includes items collected by the Polynesian Voyaging Society from Hokulea’s four-decade voyaging history, as well as related photographs, maps and lithographs from the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, is a preview of a larger Holo Moana: Generations of Voyaging exhibit set to debut at the Oahu museum in November. The Hawaii Convention Center display, which will be housed on the third level for two years, is a collaborative project of the convention center, Bishop Museum and the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
“In anticipation of Hokulea’s completion of its Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, AEG Facilities and the Hawaii Convention Center wanted to pay a special tribute to this incredible journey and give the public an opportunity to celebrate well beyond the voyage’s end,” said Teri Orton, HCC general manager. “It was an incredible honor working with the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Bishop Museum to bring these stories to life in this special and beautiful display. We hope everyone has a chance to see it over the next two years.”
Hokulea items in the center’s display are divided into three educational sections related to the canoe: its 2013-17 Malama Honua worldwide voyage; the traditional wayfinding knowledge taught, learned and practiced by crewmembers on Hokulea’s voyages; and the work of the nonprofit research- and education-focused Polynesian Voyaging Society, which conceived Hokulea’s construction, mission and voyages. In addition to the makana above – which represents a mere fraction of the many gifts presented to crew on Hokulea’s Malama Honua dockings at more than 151 ports in 23 nations on five continents – the display also includes a wood boomerang gifted on a summer 2015 Australian port of call and a Mālama Honua-themed Tutudesk lap desk (part of a desks-for-students initiative named in honor of social rights activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu) designed for school children in South Africa.
Items in the display illustrating the use of traditional wayfinding techniques on Hokulea voyages include a Marshallese wood, shell and fiber-constructed stick chart representing the patterns of prominent ocean swells and ways in which islands and atolls disrupted those patterns; and a star compass created by Hokulea master navigator Nainoa Thompson to help apprentice navigators memorize and understand the skill of wayfinding by stars. Items from the Polynesian Voyaging Society straight out of Hokulea’s voyaging history include one of the canoe’s life preservers and a paddle from its 1976 maiden voyage to Tahiti, an ukulele played by crew members on the canoe’s Pacific Ocean voyages, and a substantial, intricately-woven strand of kaula (cordage) crafted by Hokulea’s first master navigator Pius “Mau” Piailug.
“We worked closely with both the Hawaii Convention Center and the Polynesian Voyaging Society to decide on the important stories they wanted the display to tell,” said Brad Evans, director of exhibits and production for Bishop Museum, who assisted in curating the display. “Together, we wanted to show that Hokulea had been creating bonds, offering and receiving gifts from people around the world, and that the effect of the worldwide voyage extended well outside of Hawaii and Hawaiian culture. It’s a small display, but it’s packed full of information.”
For more information on the Malama Honua: The Worldwide Voyage of Hokulea display at the Hawaii Convention Center, call 808-943-3500. To learn more about Hokulea’s Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage and homecoming ceremonies on Oahu, visit www.hokulea.com.
Media Note: Images of exhibit available upon request.
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About the Polynesian Voyaging Society
The Polynesian Voyaging Society was founded in 1973 on a legacy of Pacific Ocean exploration, seeking to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration through experiential educational programs that inspire students and their communities to respect and care for themselves, one other, and their natural and cultural environments. For more information about the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Worldwide Voyage, visit www.hokulea.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google+.