Polynesian Voyaging Society Announces Voyage to Tahiti

The “Kealaikahiki Voyage” to focus on succession, cultural protocol and ocean rights

Polynesian voyaging canoes Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia are getting ready to set sail on the ancient sea road of Kealaikahiki to Hawaiʻi’s ancestral homeland of Tahiti.  The “Kealaikahiki Voyage” will focus on navigational training and cultural protocol to prepare the crew and test the canoes before they embark on the Moananuiākea Voyage next year.  While in French Polynesia, voyaging leaders will also be participating in the Blue Climate Summit, a high-level meeting to discuss ocean protection and climate change.  The canoes are tentatively scheduled to depart Sand Island, Oʻahu on Monday, April 4, 2022 (weather permitting) and will make a stop in Hilo before continuing on to Tahiiti.  The canoes are expected to arrive in Papeete, Tahiti by April 30.

As part of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s (PVS) succession plan, next generation voyaging leaders will captain and navigate the two canoes from Hilo to Tahiti.  Lehua Kamalu will captain Hōkūleʻa; on this voyage she will become the first woman to captain and navigate a canoe from Hawaiʻi to Tahiti.  On Hikianalia, Pwo navigator Bruce Blankenfeld will be training two captains, Kaniela Lyman-Mersereau and Kaleo Wong.  The deep-sea leg is designed to train crew who will become the captains and navigators who lead the Moananuiākea Voyage.

“2022 is truly a building year for PVS.  With this Tahiti Voyage and through July we will be conducting 8,000 miles of deep-sea leadership training focused on captains and navigators who will take the canoes around the Pacific for the Moananuiākea Voyage,” said Pwo navigator and PVS CEO Nainoa Thompson.  “If the state of COVID-19 allows it, we will train 220 new crew members from the end of this voyage through  2023. We plan to sail 3,000 miles around the state, connecting with schools and communities in 25 different ports,” Thompson added.

In addition to immersive navigational and crew training, one of the main purposes of the “Kealaikahiki Voyage” is to follow the ancient voyaging protocol of sailing to the sacred navigational heiau of Taputapuātea in Raʻiātea, French Polynesia to seek permission to launch a major voyage.  Taputapuātea’s cultural elders will conduct highly sacred ceremonies to affirm the Kealaikahiki sea road and to consecrate Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia as sacred vessels of heritage carrying the mana (spirit) of Polynesia throughout the vast Pacific on the Moananuiākea Voyage.

Following the cultural ceremonies in Tahiti, Thompson will co-convene the The Blue Climate Summit, which will be held in French Polynesia on May 14-20, 2022, to accelerate ocean-related solutions to climate change.  The Blue Climate Summit is an endorsed action of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and is co-hosted with the Government of French Polynesia. More than 250 leaders, scientists, engineers, community, business, youth, policymakers, conservationists and influencers are expected to come together to accelerate solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing humankind.

With regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, PVS’ medical team has been closely following case numbers and information, and have updated and will continue to update its plans and protocols accordingly.  The voyage to Tahiti has been postponed three times over the last two years due to the pandemic.

“Our priority is the health and safety not only of our own crew and their families, but of our community and the communities that graciously allow us to visit,” said PVS medical officer Dr. Seren Tokumura.  “We are currently seeing Tahiti’s numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths matching the trends worldwide, and with our current health and safety protocols in place, we feel that we are ready to return to Tahiti at this time.”

Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia are scheduled to return to Oʻahu around June 15, 2022.

Major sponsors continuing to support the voyaging efforts of PVS include Atherton Family Foundation, Shaw US Foundation, Nakupuna Foundation, Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate, Sealaska Foundation, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, HEI, Hawaiian Electric, American Savings Bank, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Matson, Omidyar ʻOhana and Hawaiian Airlines.

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PVS Specialty License Plates

PVS specialty license plates are ready for sale!

The plates will be available in Honolulu on Monday, Jan. 31, at every Satellite City Hall facility. You can just walk in and get them, or make an appointment. The plates will be available on Hawaiʻi Island February 1 and on Kauaʻi and Maui within the coming weeks.

The Q and A below has all fo the details on when and how to buy plates in each county.


Questions and Answers

Q: How do I purchase a PVS license plate?
A: It varies by county as follows:

On Oʻahu in Honolulu County: Plates available on Jan 31, 2022
• The plates will be available at all Satellite City Halls or by mail request.
• A registered car owner may make an AlohaQ appointment at any Satellite City Hall or simply walk in using their “Express Service Line” (no appointment necessary).
AlohaQ: https://alohaq.honolulu.gov/
• You will not have to turn in your old plates at the time of purchase; it is recommended that they destroy them or drop off old plates at a satellite at a later date.
• Download and fill out this form: http://www.honolulu.gov/rep/site/csd/onlineforms/cslmvr211.pdf
• Bring the form; your current vehicle registration; and make a payment of $35.50 at any Satellite City Hall location.

In Hawaiʻi County: Plates available on February 1, 2022
• Make an appointment under “Speciality License Plate” at this site: https://vehicleregistrationlicensing.as.me/specialtyplates

In Maui County: Plates available March 7, 2022
• DMV offices are in Kahului, Kihei and Lahaina on Maui. Appointments are required. Check for availability at www.mauicounty.gov/dmv. Contact Maui DMV Call Center at 808-270-7363 for questions.
• 309 Seventh Street #101 on Lanaʻi
• Mitchell Pauole Center on Molokaʻi
• County Public Works Office in Hana
• Vehicle’s registered owner must turn their certificate of registration and both license plates. DMV’s Customer Service Representative will assist you in completing the appropriate forms.

In Kaua’i County: Plates available February 7, 2022
• Kauai’s DMV office is on Rice Street in Lihue
• The plates are available through appointments, e-tickets and walk-in services
• Distribution will be first-come, first-served
• Please fill out this form: http://www.honolulu.gov/rep/site/csd/onlineforms/cslmvr211.pdf

Q: What is the cost of the plates?
A: Initial plates cost $35.50. This includes a one-time cost of $10.50 for the plate production and new registration emblem. PVS will receive $20 for each plate purchased and the City will receive a $5 Administrative fee. This $25 fee will recur annually, with PVS receiving $20 to further our mission.

Q: Will I be required to re-register my car to get new license plates?
A: Only if your vehicle registration is expired or will expire within 45 days of the processing of the PVS plate replacement, the applicable renewal fees and taxes for the next year will be assessed.

Q: Will there be different plates for electric vehicles? In my County, EV owners have special privileges and our plates identify our cars as EV.
A: You may use the PVS plates on your electric vehicle. However, the plate does not identify the
vehicle as electric, and so you may lose some of the privileges enjoyed by those with EV license
plates. These privileges vary by county.

Q: Will I be able to keep my current plate number, or will I be assigned a new one?
A: You will be assigned a new plate number. Your vehicle will be assigned a new PVS organizational plate in sequential order.

Q: Will I be able to have both a PVS plate and a personalized plate number?
A: No, there is no option at this time of offer personalized PVS plates at this time.

Q: I am a disabled driver, and I have a different license plate. Is this plate available to me?
A: To obtain a PVS plate, you will have to give up your disability license plate. You will need to use your disability placard.

Q: Will this be available for motorcycles as well?
A: Sorry, PVS plates are not available for motorcycles.

Q: Will I have to give up my plate if I sell my car?
A: No, a regular plate replacement should be processed prior to the sale. Inform the processing clerk that you would like to retain the PVS plates for future assignment and the plate will be held for you.

Q: Will I receive both a front and back plate?
A: Yes, two organizational plates are issued.

Q: Is it possible to have these plates treated with a certified UV coating to prevent fading?
A: No, the manufacturer produces the plates adhering to strict manufacturing guidelines and specifications.

Q: I am from another state. May I buy a blank plate?
A: No, blank plates are not available for any of our organizational plates.

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Moananuiākea Voyage Update Circumnavigation of the Pacific Postponed to 2023

PVS to focus this year on training, education and storytelling 

The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) announced that the Moananuiākea Voyage’s circumnavigation of the Pacific Ocean has been rescheduled to the spring of 2023 due to the continuing uncertainties caused by the global pandemic.  Despite the change in the sail schedule, PVS will launch its educational and storytelling campaign as planned this spring through a new addition to its fleet, a web-based canoe called Waʻa Honua (Canoe for the Earth). 

This virtual platform will feature an ongoing series of stories and educational content focusing on the protection and perpetuation of the art and science of traditional navigation and planetary renaissance, using content and curriculum produced during crew navigation and leadership training voyages to be held throughout the year. 

“Although our canoes will not be circumnavigating the Pacific this year, we will be focused on the children of Hawaiʻi and still meeting our mission of inspiring exploration, education and care for our communities and the earth while we voyage and train here at home,” said PVS CEO Nainoa Thompson. “Our canoes are classrooms for the earth and through technology and partnerships we can still commit to our educational campaign, which aims to inspire people to action and to make good choices for our oceans and the world.”

PVS is finalizing the development of Waʻa Honua, which will be launched in the spring in collaboration with core partners Nakupuna Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, University of Hawaiʻi, Arizona State University and ʻAha Moananuiākea Pacific Consortium.

Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia had been scheduled to depart Alaska this April to begin a 42-month, 41,000-mile journey to 46 countries and archipelagoes, 100 indigenous territories and 345 ports.  

For an overview on the mission of the  Moananuiākea Voyage, please click the link to the video, “The Way of the Navigator.” 

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