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Haumāna dance, performing their kuleana in representing Hawaiʻi, as Hōkūleʻa returns back to Taputapuatea for a voyaging ritual and ceremony.

Waʻa Wednesday: Reunited in Tahiti

Apr. 26, 2017

Throughout the Hōkūleʻa Worldwide Voyage, students, staff and alumni have been blessed with many opportunities to grow into leadership roles, representing the Hawaiian community and sharing the global message of Mālama Honua here locally and abroad. Kamehameha Schools is proud to be the education sponsor of the Hōkūleʻa Worldwide Voyage.

Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia arrived in Tahiti in April, marking the first time the sister canoes have reunited since the vessels embarked on separate Mālama Honua sail plans in spring of 2015. The sister canoes were last together in Aotearoa (New Zealand).

When they parted Hikianalia sailed for the Hawaiian Islands to advance the education mission of the Worldwide Voyage while Hōkūleʻa continued on her unprecedented circumnavigation of the globe. Now they are back together in a special place.

"We started his voyage together and now we end this voyage together," says Bruce Blankenfeld, master navigator of Hōkūleʻa.

Tahiti holds special historical significance for the Polynesian Voyaging Society as the destination of Hokulea's first deep sea voyage in 1976, over 40 years ago. Tahiti is the largest island of French Polynesia and shares origins with the rest of the Polynesian Triangle. The mountain, Moua Orohena, tops the island and stands 7,352 feet tall, earning the distinction as the highest point in French Polynesia; its height has made Tahiti the home base of voyaging for generations.

Hōkūle‘a, Hikianalia, and their crews were welcomed by the Mahina community in Tahiti. They recently traveled to Raiatea for a significant ceremony in Taputapuatea. The marae, or the focal meeting ground, is located on the southeastern coast of Raiatea in French Polynesia. The purpose of the stop was to honor the ancient tradition of Hawaii's Polynesian ancestors who would go to Taputapuatea, the spiritual center for voyagers of the Pacific, to ceremonially launch and close their voyages of discovery.

The ceremony began with pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson and captain Billy Richards returning two sacred stones to the marae that were given to the crew when the canoes last visited Taputapuatea in 2014 to launch the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. The return of the two stones signified that the Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia crews fulfilled their responsibility to sail around the world and deepened the connection between Hawaii and its navigational roots in Taputapuatea.

"These stones carried the spirits of all of our ancestors and the direct descendants of all of our families as we sailed around the world," said Thompson. "Today we brought the stones home to Taputapuatea and were granted permission from by our ancestral family to return home. It's the last permission based on the fulfillment of many promises we made," he added.

The crew will then travel throughout Tahiti and Raiatea to engage with the local communities in ceremony and educational outreach as they celebrate the close of the nearly four-year long journey.  

A youth delegation of 15 Kamehameha Schools Kapālama haumāna will engage in cultural-educational exchange and represent Hawaiʻi in these ceremonies, a kuleana Kamehameha Schools has been honored to have since the initial voyage in 1976.

ʻAnatahuʻataʻatametuatetupumāvae is the Tahitian name for the star Hōkūleʻa (Arcturus). This is also the name the group has chosen to take for this educational journey. Throughout the time that they are there, students will be documenting their reflections on their blog site, where friends and ʻohana can follow along. On the site, students have also uploaded their research presentations they completed prior to this journey. Click through the log book to see all of the learning opportunities they will experience first-hand each day.

Watch the day one reflection from KSK junior Teeya Lei.

Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia will sail home in early May to begin the final deep-sea leg of the Worldwide Voyage. Together with her sister canoe Hikianalia and other ʻohana waʻa, Hōkūleʻa will take part in a welcoming ceremony at Magic Island on June 17, 2017. Learn more about how you can take part in the welcoming and a series of events to celebrate homecoming at

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.

SP2020 is a five-year strategic plan that will guide Kamehameha Schools from 2015 to 2020. The plan marks a starting point toward KS’ Vision 2040, which envisions success for all Native Hawaiian learners.

Activities like these support Goal 1 and Goal 3 of SP2020 which call for KS to deliver world-class, culture-based education and to cultivate Native Hawaiian identity within its learners. It also supports Action 1 of Kamehameha’s Ten Actions for fiscal year 2016-17, advancing as a world-class KS school system.

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Themes, Culture, Leadership, I Mua Kamehameha, Newsroom, Campus Programs, Kapalama, Department News, Ho‘okahua, Mālama Honua

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