Aloha! For the first time in 14 years, Hōkūleʻa returned to Papeʻete, the landfall for her maiden voyage from Hawaiʻi in 1976 where 17,000 Tahitians welcomed her.
Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia were greeted in Tahiti with celebrations commemorating the special relationship between Hōkūleʻa and Tahiti that began with her maiden voyage to French Polynesia 39 years ago. President of French Polynesia, Gaston Flosse, and other dignitaries welcomed in the Polynesian Voyaging Society captains and crew.
The canoes made landfall at 4:00 p.m. Sarah Vaki, sister of Hikianalia crew member Herve Maraetaata, travelled from her home in the Marquesas to Tahiti to continue a tradition of singing an arrival song for the canoes once they are within sight of land. Heremoana Maatuaaihutapu gave the Tahitian greeting for Hōkūleʻa that his father, Maco, gave in 1976.
In a gathering after the crew made landfall, a special declaration of “Mālama Honua” and pledge to care for the oceans was presented to President Gaston Flosse and master navigator Nainoa Thompson. Tahiti’s Mālama Honua declaration brought together a diverse group of organizations in a pledge of support. Thompson will take this declaration to the United Nations conference in Apia, Samoa, as well as all future ports during the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines. “I was here in 1976, and the people of Tahiti gave us a great gift—they told us that we are family and to be proud of who we are as Pacific people,” said Thompson, amid applause. “Tahiti changed Hawaii forever, and 38 years later, you hand me this Mālama Honua declaration to protect the ocean, and give us hope again.”
If you are in Papeʻete, there are many planned events and opportunities to visit the canoes and meet the crew.
Tuesday, June 24, through Thursday, June 26 8:00am to 11:00am
Global Education Village with booths and displays about navigation and Mālama Honua efforts.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 6:00pm
Nainoa Thompson lectures on navigation techniques and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage at University.
Sunday, June 29, 2014, 2:00pm
Ceremonial renaming of Paofai beach to Hōkūle‘a Beach by Gaston Flosse, President of French Polynesia.