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During a special behind-the-scenes tour, the crew takes a look at different Hawaiian artifacts in the Peabody Essex collection.

Wa'a Wednesday: Making connections in Salem

July 20, 2016

Contributed by Shaundor Chillingworth

After spending four days in Boston interacting with local Native American communities, schools and maritime groups, Hōkūleʻa made way for Salem, Massachusetts, where it arrived on Thursday, July 14.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, Salem Maritime National Historic Site Superintendent Paul DuPrey, and representatives from the Salem community welcomed Hōkūleʻa with a ceremony at Salem's Central Wharf. The engagement highlighted the connection between Salem's maritime community and Polynesian seafaring history.                                                                                                                                      

"It gives me great pleasure to welcome Hawaii's iconic voyaging canoe to Salem's historic waterfront. We're proud to be one of your global voyage ports in the midst of your multi-year circumnavigation of the globe to raise awareness of Polynesian maritime culture and ocean conservation," said Driscoll.

"Amazing, this vessel, and the trip that you've made. Courageous, I should say."

At the arrival ceremony, the mayor presented the Hōkūleʻa crew with the official city seal.

During their stay in Salem, the crew held a number of environmental and cultural education programs and offered canoe tours to the public. 

The crew was also given a behind-the-scenes tour of the Peabody Essex Museum's Oceanic Arts and Culture Gallery, which is currently closed to the public due to renovations. This was a significant visit for the crew because of the museum's collection of 20,000 objects from more than 36 island groups in Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. Among them are 5,000 Hawaiian objects that form one of the most important collections of its kind outside of Hawaiʻi.

Part of the collection is one of the three statue images of Hawaiian god Kūkaʻilimoku. Only two other large carved images of Kūkaʻilimoku have survived: one at the British Museum and the other at the Bishop Museum. The three Kū images were brought together for the first time in more than 150 years for a groundbreaking exhibit at Bishop Museum in 2010.

Hōkūleʻa left Salem, Massachusetts on Saturday, July 16 for Portsmouth, NH where the crew were greeted by three members of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People, led by Chief Paul Pouliot.

The canoe departed Portsmouth on Tuesday, July 19, for Portland, Maine where it briefly stopped before continuing on to Hurricane Island, Maine where it will spend the next two days. From Hurricane Island, Hōkūleʻa is scheduled to spend the weekend through next Wednesday in Mt. Desert, Maine, where the crew will continue engaging with communities and presenting their message of Mālama Honua. For the latest schedule, visit the East Coast Voyage page on

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+.

During an arrival ceremony in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Sagamore Paul Pouliot opens the space with a blessing of tobacco.

malama honua voyage

Kaipuolono Article, Newsroom, Department News, Ho‘okahua, Mālama Honua

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