You never know what the day will bring, all you know is that what is experienced will be a blessing.
After a restful sleep under the watchful eye of Mouʻa Rotui on Moʻorea the ʻohana waʻa were mākaukau for the day’s journeys. One blessing came to us in the form of tatau, the tradition of marking one’s body in commemoration of events, genealogies, and people. As intricate as these images are, so too are the stories woven into them, and the individuals who illustrate with their hands and design from their naʻau. Our storyteller today was Mate Williams, the great grandson of Roto Williams, the Tahitian Maohi who sailed on Hōkūleʻa’s maiden voyage from Hawaiʻi to Tahiti in 1976. Like his grandfather, Mate is surrounded by an intimate circle of family and friends who like in the Maweke ceremony in Hilo, sit in sacredness as willing participants and fully aware of the kuleana that comes with it. With each tug and pull of human flesh the traditional tools work their magic and the design comes forth. They also help him to filter the image that will be worn in honor of the iʻa – the great fish who travels the oceans far and wide and carries the message of aloha throughout Polynesia. In 1976, Roto made Hōkūleʻa’s deck his home, bridging generations of culture and traditions and ensuring a lifetime of family and friendships. Mate continues in his wake, weaving together the oloa fibers that bind us and make us family.