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While in Balboa, Panama, crew members engage with indigenous peoples from the area.

Waʻa Wednesday – Back in the Pacific

Jan. 18, 2017

Kamehameha Schools is proud to be the education sponsor of the Hōkūleʻa Worldwide Voyage. The perpetuation of Polynesian wayfinding continues to be a source of pride for students, the organization and the entire Hawaiian community, adding strength to a collective sense of Native Hawaiian identity.

The Hōkūleʻa is back in the Pacific Ocean for the first time in nearly two years.

After a historic two-day transit across the Panama Canal,  Hōkūleʻa crewmembers, while moored in Balboa, collaborated with several locally- and globally-based organizations including Earth Train, The Four Worlds International Institute, Inter Tribal Youth and The Balboa Paddle Club (CREBA) to engage the Panamanian people to participate in interactive, maritime-inspired activities. Events included an in-depth tour of Hōkūleʻa and the building of a pre-Colombian maritime bamboo replica that will accompany the canoe as she departs Balboa and sets sail for the Galapagos Islands.

KS Executive Strategy Consultant Dr. Shawn Kanaʻiaupuni is along for Leg 27 of the voyage to the Galapagos Islands. She put together a blog entry talking about provisioning the canoe for the next leg and describes a visit from local students in Balboa.

In her blog, she talks about the need to make sure everyone is prepared for the journey ahead. She then shares another bright moment from this journey fulfilling the educational mission of the trip in connecting students from the Metropolitan School of Panama. The students were so inspired by Hōkūleʻa, that along with their kumu, they made a plan to build a bamboo raft based on the design of the rafts originally built and used by the natives of this region. They researched, gathered materials for, and built the bamboo raft, bringing her to the same marina and putting up the sail for the first time in honor of Hōkūleʻa’s arrival to their country.

"Hōkūleʻa's voyage around the world is an inspiration to both our grassroots and global  environmental efforts," said Nathan Gray, co-chair and executive director of Earth Train and Geoversity. "We look forward to our relationship with the Polynesian Voyaging Society, particularly in the areas of ocean awareness education, natural design projects and global collaboration."

Hōkūleʻa is on the final stretch of her journey before returning home on June 17, with a special homecoming event hosted at Magic Island. Scheduled stops between now and then include the Galapagos Islands, Rapa Nui and French Polynesia.

For educators still looking for an opportunity to connect to the voyage, a Waʻa Talk will take place on February 27, 2017 from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Waiʻalae Elementary School. This Waʻa Talk will also feature a special guest. Ted Dintersmith, founding Executive Producer of the highly acclaimed education documentary Most Likely to Succeed, will be speaking and participating in the discussion. Visit for more information and instructions how to register if interested in attending.

Kamehameha Schools is proud to be the Education Sponsor of the Hōkūleʻa Worldwide Voyage. For more information about the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Worldwide Voyage, visit or find the society on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google+. To see more Wa‘a Wednesday stories and much more about the Mālama Honua Voyage, go to the KS Online Mālama Honua page(if you are on a KS Network) or see related articles below.

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