Alex Hamer
The Polynesian voyaging canoe known as the Hokulea started its journey from Hawaii in 2013, hoping to travel 60,000 miles and visit 100 ports in 27 nations.

60,000 Miles, 100 Ports, 27 Nations: Polynesian Hokulea Takes Manhattan

Alex Hamer

It started its  journey from Hawaii in 2013, hoping to travel 60,000 miles and visit 100 ports in 27 nations. On Saturday, June 5 the Polynesian voyaging canoe known as the Hokulea or “Star of Gladness” was greeted as it arrived at a port  in Manhattan, New York by a diverse crowd of over a thousand including indigenous peoples of the state.  

First launched in 1976, 600 years after these style of canoes were last sailed,the Hokulea has helped create a greater appreciation for Hawaiian culture.

Hokulea in port at Battery Park.  (Photo: Alex Hamer)

Nainoa Thompson, the  president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and captain of the double-hulled canoe that is 62 feet long and 20 feet wide, says he and his crew are bringing a message of “Malama honua” or taking care of Island Earth.

“Amongst all the diversity of the Earth there’s that common thread of compassion and kindness and aloha that we find every day, I think that’s the most rewarding thing for me,” Thompson told ICTMN.

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Shinnecock, and Ramapough Lenape Nation performed a welcoming ceremony for the Polynesians, while the Hui Kipaepae of New York performed a traditional Hawaiian awa ceremony.

Greeting Hokulea with song and blessings.  (Photo: Alex Hamer)

Thompson and his crew use traditional Polynesian navigation techniques involving the stars and sun to find their way. In case of dire storms or deadly winds, a tow boat follows far behind the canoe.

Hokulea celebrated World Oceans Day with their message on June 8th at the United Nations.

This year’s theme for World Oceans Day is “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.” With a focus on ways to clean and reduce plastic pollution in our world’s Oceans.

Hokulea is slated to finish its voyage in 2017. 

Follow ICTMN's Alex Hamer on Twitter at - @AlxHamer

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