PVS Announces Details of Moananuiākea Voyage
Amid the uncertainty caused by the global pandemic, the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) has been developing a plan, as well as back-up plans, for its next major journey and educational campaign: The Moananuiākea Voyage. Contingent on the state of COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi and throughout the world, the 41,000-mile, 42-month circumnavigation of the Pacific will take voyaging canoes Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia to 46 countries and archipelagoes, nearly 100 indigenous territories and 345 ports. Focused on the vital importance of oceans, nature and indigenous knowledge, while developing young crew members, navigators and leaders, the goal of the voyage is to engage communities around the world to take part in navigating the earth towards a healthy, thriving future.
Planning for the Moananuiākea Voyage and its educational initiatives began two-and-a-half years ago prior to the pandemic. This year, after several delays due to shut downs and new safety protocols, work is now also underway to prepare the vessels and conduct crew training. The circumnavigation of the Pacific is tentatively set to start from Alaska in spring 2022. The canoes will return to Honolua Bay, Maui on May 1, 2026, the 50th Anniversary of Hōkūleʻa’s 1976 maiden voyage to Tahiti. Prior to circumnavigating the Pacific, PVS is hoping to sail Kealaikahiki, the ancient sea road connecting Hawaiʻi and Tahiti, in the spring of next year to train young crew members and navigators, and to ask permission at the sacred navigational heiau of Taputapuatea to embark on the Moananuiākea Voyage. Upon the return from Tahiti, the canoes will sail around the Hawaiian Islands to connect with local communities before departing Hawaiʻi for more than three years.
“We want to be respectful to this global pandemic and its impacts on communities we are hoping to sail to, so although we continue to prepare to voyage, COVID has changed how we do everything,” said Nainoa Thompson, Pwo navigator and president of PVS. “We have also been searching and having many conversations about how Hōkūleʻa and the voyaging family can make a positive contribution and help Hawaiʻi and its people during these very difficult times.”
“Today we find ourselves facing some of the most challenging threats we’ve ever faced. From this global pandemic to burning forests, emptying oceans, melting glaciers, rising seas…storms that will change the earth and humanity into the next century and beyond,” he added. “With the Moananuiākea Voyage, we feel the urgency to seek out and connect a new generation of bold, brilliant and caring leaders around the world who can chart a course for a flourishing future for Hawaiʻi, the Pacific and the Earth. We call these leaders navigators.”
And so the Moananuiākea Voyage will also create a network of “navigators” in communities around the Pacific and, by way of a virtual “Third Canoe,” the world. The “Third Canoe” is a platform of communications and education initiatives that will allow room on the deck for a global “crew” of partners connected by common values who are protecting the earth through diverse ways including education, storytelling, science, art, music, poetry, indigenous wisdom and policy-making. The “Third Canoe” will inspire people to action and to make good choices around the Pacific and the world. Partners including ʻAha Moananuiākea Pacific Consortium (Kamehameha Schools, University of Hawaii and Bishop Museum), Arizona State University, Planetary Health Alliance, Ocean Elders and Nia Tero–a global NGO whose mission is to secure indigenous guardianship for vital ecosystems, are already developing programs that will scale the educational impact and reach of the Pacific Voyage.
“Whether our two canoes are able to physically sail or not, the virtual “Third Canoe” will still go,” said Thompson. “With partnerships and modern technology, we can still commit to a global voyaging campaign that engages, educates and inspires a movement of caring for people, culture, place and oceans.”
In the meantime, PVS is in the beginning phases of reaching out to the countries along the tentative voyage route to seek permission to visit and engage during the sail, a PVS protocol practiced prior to each voyage.
PVS Documentary and Membership Campaign
PVS has started a membership drive to help fund the Moananuiākea Voyage and educational campaign. As part of the launch, a one-hour documentary, He Wa’a, He Honua – The Earth Is Our Canoe, will air on Saturday, November 14, on KGMB. The broadcast will also be live streamed on Hawaii News Now and Hokulea.com and will be available online for free as part of the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) Nov. 16-29. The show takes a look back at the cultural renaissance that began in the 1970s reclaiming language, land, voyaging and other native Hawaiian cultural practices, then shares PVS’s plans for the next five years inviting viewers to join Hōkūleʻa in the next renaissance – that of Island Earth.
For more information about the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Moananuiākea Voyage and the airing of He Wa’a He Honua – The Earth Is Our Canoe, visit www.hokulea.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.