Crew Profile

Hawaiʻi Students Connect Live with Hōkūleʻa Crewmembers

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While Hōkūleʻa makes her way around the globe, crewmembers are finding ways to engage our children here in Hawaiʻi. The following post is from Mālama Honua Public Charter School whose first and second graders recently connected live with Hōkūleʻa voyagers Nainoa Thompson, Billy Richards and Jenna Ishii. It explains how connecting with our elders and with nature can build our appreciation for the environment and help inspire us to become effective stewards of Island Earth. 

We are the first and second grade students from Mālama Honua Public Charter School. We were happy and excited to have a google hangout with Uncle Billy and Kumu Jenna while they sailed across the ocean on Hōkūleʻa. It was nice to hear about what they have been doing on the waʻa and to ask them questions about things we have been learning in class.

One navigator skill our class has been learning about is environmental awareness. We have been learning to be environmentally aware by observing, appreciating and developing a growth mindset. We wanted to know, what lessons got easier every time crewmembers sailed and which lessons are still difficult. We were thrilled when Uncle Nainoa joined in to answer this question. He told us that the more you are out looking at nature and taking time to kilo (observe) the more ʻike (knowledge) you will gain about the ocean, wind, birds, stars, sun, atmosphere, and sea life. We learned from Uncle Nainoa that we need to see, listen, and hear from nature to build our understanding of and appreciation for nature.

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For the past three weeks we have been reflecting on the ʻolelo noʻeau; “nānā i ke kumu” (look to the source). We asked Uncle Billy and Kumu Jenna about how they nānā i ke kumu. Uncle Billy shared that Hōkūleʻa is a source of inspiration. He also shared that the ocean is a source of life and breath; Papa Mau and Uncle Nainoa are sources of knowledge, and that we can be a source of life to each other to help get things done. Mahiʻai Wolfgramm said, “hearing about Uncle Billyʻs connection to the ʻolelo noʻeau made me think about how my actions can be a source of life to someone else.”

We enjoyed learning from crew members and seeing all the fun things they were up to on the waʻa, like how they baked the cake using the stars as a timer, and seeing Uncle Billy hanging off the side of the waʻa! Mahalo for letting us join in on this awesome Google Hangout.

~ Papa Mahina Keiki”

About Mālama Honua Public Charter School
Mālama Honua Public Charter School (MHPCS) prepares children to be community leaders and environmental stewards for our island home and the world. MHPCS prepares students to navigate their many voyages through life, drawing on a blend of indigenous and global knowledge to create positive solutions for the environmental and social challenges that their generation is facing. Students gain science, math, reading, art, and music skills through hands-on experiences in the community that help them identify ways they can mālama — care for — the world around them. For more information about MHPCS, visit


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