Mālama Honua Challenge


The focus of our Worldwide Voyage is to care for Island Earth. We sail our voyaging canoe Hōkūleʻa using the stars, sun, and swell to guide us around the world, relying on signs from nature and ancient wisdom to guide us to each destination.  We are sailing the Earth’s oceans to visit and learn from those who are working to solve some of the greatest challenges we face in the world today. We are all responsible for the future health of our Island Earth, and the health of our people, lands, and oceans.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society  is inviting youth, ages 5-18, to share ideas about how you and your school, home or community care for the Earth and ocean. Our planet faces many challenges; now is the time to be creative in our solutions.  We need your help to find ways to create a better planet for this and future generations!

Welcome to the Mālama Honua Challenge!

Excited to begin? Click through the steps below to get started.

  • 1) Identify a Problem
  • Identify a problem at school, at home, or in your community that can be solved or improved through the values of Mālama Honua, and come up with some ideas that could solve the problem. You may have an idea or project in place already!  Is there a way to reuse the food waste from your cafeteria in your school garden? Could you create an art project that teaches your community about the importance of the reef within the ecosystem?  What’s your vision for how to care for your environment to make it better?

  • 2) Define the Criteria
  • Define the criteria and constraints. What will it take for your idea to be successful?  What are some of the short-term and long-term effects that you expect to see if your idea is successful?   Take into account relevant scientific principles, and impacts on people and the environment. Think about indigenous knowledge and thinking that is guided by nature that could be included into the process.

  • 3) Put Your Ideas Together
  • Put your ideas together in a way you can share.  You are not required to actually put your plan into action, just to develop the idea. You can sketch your idea on paper or in a drawing app, use photos to explain the project, or find your own creative way to explain your Mālama Honua action plan. You may even want to gather feedback on your original solution and make changes to your design.

  • 4) Connect Your Solution
  • Connect your solution to how it will help to create healthier oceans, waters, lands, and people. As Island people, we know that without a healthy ocean, we cannot have healthy lands or healthy people.  Everything we do on land affects the health of our water systems, including fresh water and marine environments.  Even if your project seems very far away from streams, rivers or oceans, it is surprising how interconnected everything is!  Reducing waste in your school and home, helps to reduce the amount of stuff that has to be produced to begin with, and also helps to reduce the amount of stuff that gets thrown away – both of these reductions conserve water and energy and ensure there is less trash that can enter our waterways.

    Submit your entry, and help us find new ways to Mālama Honua!

    Every month until Hōkūleʻa returns home in the summer of 2017 we will be featuring your great ideas on Hokulea.com

  • 1) Create Media
  • Create a piece of media that clearly explains the problem and why it needs to be solved, the constraints, the solution, and how your solution will impact the health of our oceans, waters, lands, and people. We will accept short videos (no more than 2 mins), photos, drawings, images or infographics.

  • 2) Share Your Entry
  • Share your submission here!  You can also share your submission on social media with the hashtag #MalamaHonuaChallenge.

  • 3) Explore and Learn
  • Visit Hokulea.com to see a map tracking entries from around the planet, so classrooms and organizations can learn about each others projects  and potentially collaborate.  Hokulea.com features exciting crew blogs from the deck of our voyaging canoe, resources on how Polynesian navigation and wayfinding works, and stories of hope from around the world.

  • 4) Stay Tuned
  • Innovative and interesting ideas will be promoted monthly via our website and social media. Recognized students will be invited to visit Hōkūleʻa in her nearest ports. Entries will be reviewed by a panel of ocean leaders and global innovators.

    Mālama Honua Challenge Entries

    Every Day is Earth Day!

    Students and faculty of Lānaʻi High and Elementary School were inspired to create this song and video based on the lessons they learned and service projects they implemented in their community.  Listen and watch as they share all the ways they discovered they can mālama honua, and turned work into play!

    To learn more about the lessons and projects that are documented in the video and song, and learn more about the kids and their teacher, please visit Mr. Glickstein’s blog.