Maui welcomes Hōkūleʻa, Hikianalia


Photo by Destinee Murray

The Hōkūleʻa resting out in Lāhaina Harbor on its visit to Maui, May 18, 2014.

By Destinee Murray, staff writer

Many locals and visitors gathered at Lāhaina Harbor yesterday to witness the arrival of the Hōkūleʻa and its sister canoe Hikianalia.

On Sunday, May 18, the Polynesian Voyaging Society celebrated the launch of Hōkūleʻa from Oʻahu for it’s Mālama Honua worldwide voyage that will last for three years. The crew plans to visit every Hawaiian island before traveling the world.

Father and daughter navigators Chad Kalepa Baybayan and Paanaakala Baybayan, both of Lāhaina, will navigate the first leg to Tahiti.

The canoes did not sail into the habor, but the crew members were brought to shore for an ʻawa ceremony. As each member walked onto the shores of Kamehameha Iki Park at 525 Front Street, they were welcomed with lei. The ceremony was open to the public to watch, but photography and videography were not permitted during the ʻawa ceremony unless it was done by a crew member of the voyage.

After the ʻawa ceremony, crew members ate lunch at a community potluck that was open to the public as well. The potluck was hosted by Maui’s Hui o Waʻa Kaulua.

ʻŌiwi television will be traveling alongside the two canoes to document the entire journey and communicate about it to the rest of the world. ʻŌiwi TV is a cable television station that focuses on Hawaiian content and the interest of the Hawaiian community.

ʻŌiwi TV CEO Nāʻālehu Anthony is a captain for the Hōkūleʻa. He became widely known for his work captured in the documentary Papa Mau: The Wayfinder, which was about Micronesian master navigator Mau Piailug. Piailug played a big part in Polynesia by teaching Hawaiians the traditional navigation techniques that had been believed to be extinct. The ancient Polynesian navigation techniques are done through careful observation of the ocean, stars, and birds.

As a result of the connection to Nāʻālehu, ʻŌiwi TV is able to follow the two canoes across the Pacific Ocean. However, most members will do double duty by not only creating media, but by also helping aboard the canoes as crew members.

Media crew members will be taking shifts, two at a time, for each leg of the journey.

Each crew member on the voyage must go through a series of tests and clearances in order to take part in the voyage.

“They’re pulling double duty… not only do we have to shoot on the canoe, taking photos and video,” said Kaipo Kīʻaha (KSM ’08), “we have to learn how to sail.”

Kīʻaha is a member of the media crew, and has been a part of ʻŌiwi TV for almost a year. After graduating from Kamehameha Maui, he graduated from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. with a B.F.A. in Film Production/ Broadcast Journalism.

The Hōkūleʻa website said the two canoes will visit 85 ports and 26 countries with its first official stop being Tahiti where the first voyage began.