On September 24, Hōkūle’a, the famous full-scale replica of a traditional waʻa kaulua or Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe, arrived in Hanalei, Kaua’i, on its visitation circuit around the Hawaiian islands after completing its three-and-a-half-year journey around the world in June.
It was fitting that our hālau was on hand to receive this worthy vessel at our shores with ceremonial protocol, which was a very moving experience. We were very proud and honoured to have had the opportunity to play this role.
Crowds lined the pier to watch Hōkūle’a come in, and many were chanting, blowing pu, and making other celebratory sounds as the boat approached. Once the crew had all gotten on deck, we began our ceremonial oli and hula to welcome them and express our appreciation for all that they had accomplished on their voyage. Their travels on board Hōkūle’a had taken them across about 40,000 nautical miles (74,000 kilometres), during which they called at 18 nations, 150 ports, and eight UNESCO Marine World Heritage sites. It was a truly epic quest on which they had made every effort to spread aloha and encourage people around the world to malama honua.
After all the various presentations of makana, hoʻokupu, oli, mele, hula and speeches had been completed, we celebrated and ate meaʻai prepared by master cooks from moku Haleleʻa. It was a joyous, proud, and wonderful event, and it brought the community together to celebrate an amazing accomplishment.
Our hālau was overjoyed and honoured to have been asked to be a presenter that day.