As the Legislature navigates its way through the 27th Legislative Session making important policy decisions on issues that affect Hawai‘i’s people, it takes inspiration from the crew members of the Hokule‘a and their dedication to shared values of and responsibility for caring for the land and its people while honoring Hawai‘i’s heritage and culture.
With great admiration, Hawai‘i senators on Monday, March 10 at 11:30 a.m. in the Senate Chambers will recognize and honor the crew of the Hokule‘a in a special floor presentation as they prepare for the second leg of their worldwide voyage, aptly referred to as “Malama Honua,” or “Care for the Earth.” The voyage will be done almost entirely using traditional Polynesian navigation methods, known as wayfinding. This is the first voyage of its kind and involves using ancestral knowledge of star patterns, ocean movement, marine life, weather patterns and other signs of nature. As crew members will say, the Hokule‘a represents Hawai‘i’s culture, heritage and connection to ancestors.
“The Hokule‘a’s international travels will soon begin and it’s important to the Senate that each crew member knows that the state and its lawmakers support their mission and stands unwavering behind their efforts,” said Sen. Gilbert Kahele (District 1 Hilo), who spearheaded the upcoming presentation ceremony. “A floating classroom, the Hokule‘a will carry our diverse and accepting culture throughout the Pacific building relationships and raising awareness about the importance of ocean protection.”
“As a lawmaker, I look forward to what they will bring back regarding recommendations for charting a new course or more so how we as a state shall adjust our sails toward sustainable practices for food, energy and the environment that they’ve picked up from other places and cultures,” said Kahele. “Their mana‘o would be an added value to helping legislators in future policy decisions.”
Kahele has also introduced two resolutions supporting the efforts of the Hokule‘a. One resolution urges Gov. Neil Abercrombie to proclaim 2014 as the Year of the Worldwide Voyage while the other urges the state and state entities to support the Hokule‘a and their crew as they journey around the world.
Last May, the Hokule‘a began the first of 22 legs planned for the voyage around the world right here in Hawai‘i. The next leg begins in May and will take them to Tahiti, from there, and over the next four years, they will travel to 26 countries and stop at 85 international ports – sailing more than 47,000 miles. The crew consists of 260 individuals from 16 countries including navigators, students, educators, scientists, documenters, medic, cultural leaders and global ambassadors.
“Our experiences and shared knowledge are really the things that define our lives,” Kahele said. “We all can learn from each other, and the voyages of the Hokule‘a reminds us of this. We’re all in this together so we need to care for each other, work together. During our own journey, while we finish out the second half of the legislative session, we intend to keep the spirit of Hokule‘a in our hearts.”
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