Update | Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia Arrive in Aotearoa
OPUA, NEW ZEALAND – Legendary Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa and her sister canoe Hikianalia today made landfall in Aotearoa (New Zealand) in Opua at 9:30 a.m. local time. The crew first sighted land from the deck of the Hōkūleʻa at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 9 while a pod of dolphins played around the historic canoe.
Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia will dock in Opua to clear customs and prepare for their ceremonial arrival to Waitangi on Saturday, Nov. 15 at Te Tii Marae.
The voyaging canoes departed Pago Pago, American Samoa Oct. 16 to Aotearoa and have sailed approximately 1,500 nautical miles to reach the tip of North Island. Hōkūleʻa’s return to Aotearoa today is the first visit to the country since she sailed the Voyage of Rediscovery in 1985, retracing the routes of settlement used by Polynesian ancestors. As a celebration of that rich history, this leg of the Mālama Honua voyage has carried the theme, “Nā Waka: A Tribe Returning Home.”
“I first touched the port manu (bow) of this canoe in 1985 when I was twelve as she came to my home in New Zealand. I had no idea how that would change my life,” said Nick Marr, watch captain on the Hōkūleʻa. “It’s an unreal experience to be sailing home now.”
This leg of the voyage offered opportunities to test and strengthen Hōkūleʻa’s young navigators, under the guidance of the Pwo (master) navigators on board.
“This is another step to the future of voyaging,” said Bruce Blankenfeld, Pwo navigator. “This journey has been filled with lessons that have tested their skills; from 100 percent cloud cover all night to unfavorable winds to the biting cold, and through each challenge, they have proven themselves capable and ready to take on more kuleana (responsibility).”
The Hawaiian name for this journey, Mālama Honua, means “to care for our Island Earth” and is taking Hōkūleʻa and her sister canoe Hikianalia across Earth’s oceans to grow a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, 26 nations, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017.