Kimiko Carrington|Guest Blog: New York Harbor School Aloha to Hōkūleʻa
I first encountered the story of the voyaging canoe Hokūleʻa when some of the crew visited my school in March 2016. I attend the New York Harbor School located on Governor’s Island, in the heart of New York City. Miki Tomita gave a wonderful presentation to our vessel operations class. I was intrigued to learn more about celestial navigation and the
waʻa. Of course my mom, Kimfa, already knew all about the history of the waʻa! She said “You were honored today that the waʻa will visit you soon. It’s divine and already written in the stars.” So while their representatives were in New York, I attended all their events, lectures and even volunteered to help. I shadowed Miki Tomita, whom I call Auntie Miki now. I learned so much from the lectures lead by Nāʻālehu
Anthony and was given the special honor of meeting Nainoa Thompson and other navigators. They were so welcoming and nurturing to my curiosity and eagerness to know more about wayfinding and Polynesian culture. I have been so moved by the way they celebrate indigenous cultural dignity and ensure their customs are passed on to future generations. This made my mom the most proud. She always talks about a genetic memory lost to those of us whom colonial history has affected, making us unable to pass down our language, names, customs and traditions. Through Hōkūleʻa and her crew, the world gets to see and experience a living treasure and a living culture. And for me personally, I have gained new family or ʻohana, full of inspiring uncles and aunties.
Through my time with them, I have been inspired to live my life “pono”, a Hawaiian expression referring to living with a consciousness to do the right thing. I am also learning more about “mana,” the life energy that flows through all things. I believe that the mana and aloha in the of the Harbor School led the wayfinders to Governor’s island. It’s no accident
they chose us to honor with a visit and bring a hundred people to learn about us as part of their visit in June 2016 for World Oceans Day. We are a special school founded on the message we share with Hōkūleʻa of conservation of our world’s oceans and waterways, promoting a sustainable future for all great and small.
My Hōkūleʻa ʻohana has continued to support me in all my aspirations and conservation efforts in spite of being separated by the continent and the Pacific. For instance, I volunteered with the New York Explorers club to organize a fundraiser for the Sea Turtle Conservancy. We decided to have a silent auction to raise money to assist with Sea turtle Conservation efforts. I shot one email to my Aunties and Uncles at the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and they responded immediately with items they could donate to help this worthy cause. Among the donated items were a personally signed book by Nainoa Thompson, and Nāʻālehu Anthony sent me the most stunning photography of the waʻa. Needless to say we got some big bucks for those priceless items!
I’m incredibly humbled and inspired by the Hokulea crew and their message. Our meeting was one of those pivotal moments in your life as a young person where it hits you – this is what it’s all about. Caring for mother earth and all her inhabitants – it’s just that simple – mālama honua.
I’m taking the time now, because I had to send some sad news to my Hōkūleʻa ʻohana yesterday – our school just lost a large chunk of government funding that we really needed in order to keep our school living and breathing. Auntie Miki replied that of course they could help spread the word about the 5K Race we are planning on Governors Island as a fundraiser to help the school, but she said “Wouldn’t it be better if people heard what was in your heart? Why don’t you write something about what inspires you about the school.”
So there you have it. My Hōkūleʻa story, my story of hope. We at New York Harbor School express our gratitude to Hōkūleʻa, her crew, and the world that follows you, and welcome your support. Click the link below to read more about the school, how to sign up for the 5K, and other ways you can support the school. Mahalo!
http://www.oysterclassic5k.com/phone/index.html#t it oursponsors
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