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Hōkūle‘a officially returns home after three years completing a lei around the world.

Wa‘a Wednesday: Homecoming

Jun. 13, 2017

Hōkūle‘a has successfully circumnavigated the globe, and on June 17, Hawaii will welcome her home.

The mission of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage was to weave a lei of hope around the world through sharing indigenous wisdom, groundbreaking conservation and preservation initiatives while learning from the past and from each other, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of the Island Earth.

On June 8 at 12:30 p.m., the crew of Hōkūle‘a sited the sacred mountain of Haleakalā, signifying that the legendary canoe is officially back home after sailing for 37 months, 40,000 nautical miles and visiting more than 150 ports in 19 countries around the world. After spending 400 days at sea and 700 days on foreign soil, Hōkūle‘a will be bringing home wisdom, lessons and ideas as gifts to share with Hawaii's children from this voyage of rich learning.

"We want thank this crew of Hōkūle‘a for sailing with such a high level of excellence and commitment to honoring the tradition of voyaging and ancestral navigation," said Nainoa Thompson president the Polynesian Voyaging Society. "All of us in the voyaging community are extremely proud of them."

"I also want to express our gratitude to the crews of the 30 other legs and the thousands of people in Hawaii, the Pacific and around the world for allowing this voyage to happen. We are grateful for all that they have given to the success of the voyage," Thompson added.

Although Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia are in home waters, the canoes are still under kapu until the arrival ceremony at Magic Island on June 17.

The historic day will include a cultural welcoming ceremony followed by a grand celebration with entertainment, food booths and Voyage video highlights. Continuing the festivities, a series of additional homecoming festivities are planned during the week following arrival. The Malama Honua Fair and Summit, a three-day event, will emphasize the voyaging, cultural and environmental missions of the Worldwide Voyage by sharing malama honua "stories of hope" and voyage-inspired activities with the public.

A two week window was created to ensure the canoes arrive on time to meet the love, support and aloha of Hawai‘i. The two-week window also allows crewmembers to visit three very special sacred sites: Kaho‘olawe, Kalaupapa and Kualoa. There, the crew will pay respect to the culture, environment, history and heritage. These sites will be the last ports of the Worldwide Voyage and act as the final permission that allows Hökūe‘a to come home and finish the epic voyage. Hōkūle‘a was launched from Kualoa; on the return leg of her maiden voyage, from Tahiti to Hawai‘i, the first place she anchored back in Hawaii was at Kalaupapa. These are spiritual and deeply important places for all people in Hawai‘i and Hōkūle‘a crewmembers will be paying respect to them with a private ceremony.

"We will be spending the next week slowly making our way towards O‘ahu," said Thompson. "We appreciate the aloha and support of friends and families eager to greet our canoes and crew, and we ask for your patience and understanding as we direct all those interested in greeting Hōkūle‘a, Hikianalia and our crew to our June 17 arrival at Kalia (Magic Island), Oahu," he added.

After returning to O‘ahu, Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia will begin the most important leg of the voyage, which will be an eight-month sail to 30 ports throughout the Hawaiian islands.

"When we sail throughout the Hawaiian Islands, we will go to as many as 70 communities and 100 schools to thank Hawaii's people and share what we have learned with their children. We are also looking forward to hearing Hawaii stories of Malama Honua," said Thompson. "Kalia (Magic Island) is the first stop of a year-long homecoming," he added.

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.

If you are unable to join in the festivities on June 17, you can also watch them live as all three television stations will be participating in welcoming Hōkūle‘a home.

Welcome Hōkūle’a Home

Arrival Ceremony and Celebration will take place on:

Saturday, June 17
7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Magic Island

KS ‘ohana are encouraged to wear blue and white to visually convey Kamehameha Schoolsʻ support for the Mālama Honua voyage. You can also learn the mele that will be presented to welcome Hōkūle‘a and lend your leo to the welcome.

The celebration then moves to Kaka‘ako for a special NightMarket block party.

Saturday, June 17
5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Salt at Our Kaka‘ako

Then the Mālama Honua Fair & Summit will welcome all interested in learning more about the voyage and how they can take action to mālama honua.

June 18 – 20
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hawai‘i Convention Center

Interested in helping out?
Volunteers are being sought to kōkua will all of the events during the homecoming activities. Sign-up to volunteer at

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