Waʻa Kaulua – Our Canoes

Hōkūleʻa

On March 8, 1975, Hōkūle‘a, a performance-accurate deep sea voyaging canoe built in the tradition of ancient Hawaiian wa‘a kaulua (double-hulled voyaging canoe), was launched from the sacred shores of Hakipu‘u-Kualoa, in Kāne‘ohe Bay on the island of O‘ahu. She was designed by artist and historian Herb Kawainui Kāne, one of the founders of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. The canoe was named Hōkūle‘a (“Star of Gladness”), a zenith star of Hawai‘i, which appeared to him growing ever brighter in a dream. This launching was one of many events that marked a generation of renewal for Hawai‘i’s indigenous people. Along with the renewal of voyaging and navigation traditions came a renewal of Hawaiian language, dance, chant, and many other expressions of Hawaiian culture. The renewal represented a new-found respect and appreciation for Hawaiian culture, by all of Hawai’i’s people.For the Hawaiian people, it has meant that they once again have begun to feel proud of who they are, and where they come from.

During that generation of voyaging (1975-2000), Hōkūle‘a sailed on six major voyages from Hawai‘i, at the apex of the Polynesian triangle, to Aotearoa (New Zealand) at the southwestern corner, and finally to Rapa Nui, at the southeastern corner. Her voyages inspired a revival of canoe building and voyaging throughout Polynesia.

Hōkūleʻa at Sunrise. Photo: Jason Patterson

Hōkūleʻa at a Glance:

  • Built in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi and launched on March 8, 1975
  • Has sailed over 140,000 nautical miles across the Pacific
  • Length: 62 feet
  • Width: 20 feet
  • Hōkūleʻa is the Hawaiian name for the star Arcturus

Hikianalia

Hikianalia is the Hawaiian name for the star also known as Spica, which rises together with Hōkūle’a (Arcturus) in Hawaiʻi. They are sister stars because they break the horizon together at the latitude of the Hawaiian islands.  While Hikianalia has her own sail plan for part of the Worldwide Voyage, she and Hōkūleʻa will begin and conclude the voyage side-by-side.

Hikianalia combines the latest ecological technology with the heritage of the voyaging tradition. Each of our hulls contains an electric motor powered by onboard photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight to electric propulsive energy. With a zero carbon footprint, her design supports the “Mālama Honua” intent of the Worldwide Voyage.

Hikianalia was designed specifically for the Worldwide Voyage, following a template created by Salthouse Boatbuilders and used by the Okeanos Foundation for the Sea, which commissioned the seven waka moana of the Pacific Voyagers in Aotearoa (New Zealand). A sail path between Aotearoa and Hawaiʻi was rekindled in 1985, when Hōkūle’a sailed there and established an ongoing relationship with Maori communities.

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Hikianalia at a Glance:

  • Built in Auckland, Aotearoa by Salthouse Boatbuilders (builders of the Pacific Voyagers waka)
  • Launched for sea trials on September 15, 2012
  • Set sail from Aotearoa to Tahiti on October 9, 2012.  Arrived on October 25.
  • Length: 72 feet
  • Width: 23 feet
  • Green Footprint: Hikianalia is powered by photovoltaic-driven electric motors
  • Hikianalia is the Hawaiian name for the star Spica.