Hōkūleʻa’s Historic Voyage Awarded $250,000 Grant
By Wendy Osher
The Polynesian Voyaging Society is the recipient of a five-year, $250,000 grant from Hawaiian Electric Industries, that will be used to support its historic world-wide voyage aboard the Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia canoes.
The five-year voyage, called Mālama Honua, is loosely translated as “Care for the Earth,” and according to the PVS website, is aimed at navigating together toward a “healthier, more sustainable future.”
The HEI grant is intended to document the voyage and collect, interpret and share scientific and cultural data for a global audience.
The Hōkūleʻa is described as a voyaging canoe that uses “traditional navigation, ancestral knowledge and signs of nature” to navigate the ocean, while Hikianalia is described as an “ecologically friendly and high-tech support canoe” powered by photovoltaic panels, electric motors and sails with satellite communications capability.
“The two vessels will bridge culture, tradition and indigenous knowledge with modern technology while they serve as platforms for exploration, communication and connection,” the announcement said.
Over several months last year, the PVS conducted Mālama Hawaiʻi, the first leg of the voyage, in which navigators paid respect to communities throughout the state.
During the six month state-wide visits, the Hōkūleʻa hosted more than 20,000 school children and community members, according to the Department of Education.
“Over the next 48 months, the Worldwide Voyage will sail 49,000 nautical miles, visiting 26 countries and 85 ports while sharing Hawaiʻi’s culture with the world,” said state education officials in an earlier announcement.
The vessels are scheduled to embark on the next leg of the Worldwide Voyage in May 2014, in which the sister canoes will sail to Tahiti on their first international leg.
“We are proud to be a part of this extraordinary journey which will build relationships across the globe,” said Connie Lau, HEI president and CEO in a press release statement.
“We applaud PVS for their efforts to foster culture, education, exploration and sustainability as we share the same commitment to make Hawaiʻi and the world a better place for our children and generations to follow,” she said.
Nainoa Thompson, PVS president also commented saying, “HEI’s contribution will help assure a sustainable future that honors the health and well-being of our islands, oceans, culture and people.”
HEI’s related companies include American Savings Bank, Hawaiian Electric, Hawaiʻi Electric Light and Maui Electric.
“Hokuleʻa’s historic voyage reminds us of our host culture’s courage and knowledge as well as our willingness to embrace the future,” added Alan Oshima, president of HEI’s Charitable Foundation in the announcement. “We think the attention that will be given to the two canoes and their crews will inspire us to overcome challenges, hopefully inspiring new leaders. For these reasons, we are proud to support Mālama Honua.”