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 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