This special Kūkahekahe column celebrates World Oceans Day – Tuesday, June 8 – and the many ways we celebrate our Pacific identity as Hawaiians and islanders. The KS Digital Holomoana website offers teachers and learners exciting resources on ocean voyaging and Moananuiākea, made possible by a collaboration between Kamehameha Schools and the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
This special Kūkahekahe column celebrates World Oceans Day and the many ways we celebrate our Pacific identity as Hawaiians and islanders.
In Hawaiʻi, we are truly blessed to be surrounded by the greatest ocean on earth, Moananuiākea: It is our oceanic universe, our source of food, medicine and life; the very air we breathe comes from the ocean. In recognizing the importance of celebrating our oceanic home, Tongan scholar Epeli Hauʻofa noted that the Pacific was not a vast empty ocean but a “sea of islands” teeming with life. Our identities are shaped by the ʻāina, but they are also shaped by our great ocean.
World Oceans Day 2021
The world’s oceans are a great unifier. Recognizing their importance to all life on earth, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 8 as World Oceans Day in 2008, although the idea for the day was first proposed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, World Oceans Day celebrates our shared oceans and our personal connections to the sea. It also helps to raise awareness about marine issues affecting us all, from climate change, coral bleaching and overfishing, to pollution and sea-level rise.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods.” A declaration of intentions will launch a decade of challenges to address UN Sustainability Goal 14 which promotes the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources by 2030. Virtual events will feature a number of esteemed speakers, including Nicole Yamase, a UH student of Marine Botany of Micronesian descent who recently became the first Pacific Islander, the first marine botanist, the youngest female and third woman to ever visit the deepest part of the world’s ocean in the Marianas Trench.
World Oceans Day is an important reminder of the import role oceans play in our everyday lives. As citizens of Island Earth, we have a kuleana to care for the ocean as it cares for us!
To learn more or attend a virtual event, visit the World Oceans Day website.
Moananuiākea Voyage 2022
The same feelings of urgency and energy behind World Oceans Day are evident in the Polynesian Voyaging Society, which is preparing for the upcoming Moananuiākea Voyage to circumnavigate the Pacific. May 1, 2026, will mark the 50th anniversary of Hōkūleʻa’s landmark maiden voyage to Tahiti. This voyage illuminated the ancient path known as Kealaikahiki between Hawaiʻi and Tahiti for the first time in centuries and continues to inspire others to action.
The Moananuiākea Voyage is slated to take 42 months, cover 41,000 miles and visit 46 countries and archipelagos. To ensure a lasting voyaging legacy that will continue another 50 years and beyond, the voyage hopes to inspire educate and elevate a new generation of 10 million navigators for Island Earth by 2026. It is hoped that these new leaders will possess and demonstrate the Navigator Mindset – the courage to face the coming storms, the responsibility to act as stewards for our planet, and the resilience to rise to the challenges of a rapidly changing world. Kamehameha Schools continues its leadership role by overseeing the indigenous, Pacific-wide cultural kuleana of the voyage and promoting robust virtul and in-person educational engagement.
Learn more about the upcoming Moananuiākea Voyage on the Polynesian Voyaging Society website.
KS Digital: Holomoana Website
The launch of KS Digital in 2020 opened an ocean of possibilities to our learners! Offering a highly personalized educational experience, KS Digital helps educators and learners to discover their potential to become local and global servant leaders who are grounded in Native Hawaiian identity.
Holomoana is one of the newest portals on KS Digital and provides a Hawaiian place of learning for voyagers of the world. The site is a collaboration between KS and the Polynesian Voyaging Society. It will host more virtual resources that can help our learners to connect with the upcoming voyage and beyond and to deepen their connection with Moananuiākea and our Hawaiian and Pacific identity. Our kūpuna, our ancestors, were among the greatest navigators on earth; Holomoana is dedicated to the perpetuation of their voyaging legacy among our learners.
More lesson plans and resources will be developed for this amazing site! Learn more on the Holomoana website.