Update | April 15, 2015
On the eve of Hikianalia’s departure from Auckland, I look back on this trip with a sincere appreciation for the specialness of Te Ika A Maui and Te Wai Pounamu (North and South Island, New Zealand). We have been here a long five months, arriving in the north in November 2014, traveling to South Island in January 2015, and conducting drydock for almost two months. All of March, we hosted educational events at various venues but called the Auckland Maritime Museum home for most of the month. The staff at the museum have been outstanding hosts, true professionals in the informal education business, and we learned a lot from them about hosting students aboard Hikianalia.
The crew spent the weekend with Kaumatua Hector Nukumai Busby and toured 90 Mile Beach and Cape Reinga. With tears in his eyes, he openly wept when he performed his farewell karakira, the same prayer he performed in 1985 when Hōkūle’a began its epic voyage to Aotearoa from Miloli’i, Hawaiʻi. He asked that when the crew departs Auckland they bid him a final farewell, I promised him we would. This man has given so much to the voyaging community; I do not think we can ever repay him.
As I prepare for the 2,300 nautical mile journey back to Papeete, I am focused on the job ahead of me. We conducted training all day today. We have a few housekeeping chores to accomplish tomorrow before our departure. I think we are as prepared as possible. Now we need to focus and learn about becoming a good team. It has gotten terribly frigid down here in New Zealand, and it will remain cold for most of the way until we near Tahiti.
Often I am asked what makes you a good leader, and quite frankly, I don’t know. What I have and what I support is a big dream. I want to be a part of a project that is not mediocre, that inspires others, that challenges me and pushes me beyond preconceived limits. I understand that leadership is the process one takes to achieving the big dream. It facilitates the positive growth of the many who support the pursuit of an ambitious dream. My wish is for everyone to have a big dream in their life, and then go chase it. In that process discover the leader within them. I challenge the crew of 15 on Hikianalia, including myself, to dream big, to discover teamwork, and to learn to be better friends at the end of the trip than we were at the beginning. I think we are up to that challenge.