HONOLULU – Ceremonies began today and will continue tomorrow in preparation for Hōkūleʻa’s departure from the Pacific for the very first time in her 40-year history. The legendary voyaging canoe and her crew will depart Aurere, Aotearoa (New Zealand) for Sydney, Australia during the next good weather window, expected to be Wednesday, April 29.
The departure ceremonies are taking place in Aurere, on New Zealand’s North Island and near to Waitangi, where Hōkūleʻa was ceremonially welcomed in 1985 during her Voyage of Rediscovery. Today, a large star compass and a voyaging learning center serve as enduring reminders of the voyaging connections shared between Hawaiʻi and Aotearoa for millennia. Maori leaders and a delegation of Hawaiian youth and adults led by Dr. Randie Fong of Kamehameha Schools, the education sponsor of the Worldwide Voyage, created cultural protocol to bless Hōkūleʻa and prepare her and her crew for a safe journey.
The delegation of Hawaiʻi students from island charter schools noted the special role of youth around the world in protecting our oceans and earth. They will present the Indigenous Youth Declaration from the World Indigenous People’s Conference on Education that will be taken around the world on board Hōkūleʻa. Youth from Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center, also joined the delegation, preparing an offering of hula and oli.
“Coming together to change the world affects us all, giving us a great kuleana to persevere and keep pushing forward,” said Kamaile Academy high school student Daniel Corpuz. “This experience will spark the flame to the change of generations to come.”
Departure ceremonies will continue tomorrow with presentations of the Oceans Declaration, Voyage Leadership Declaration, and Indigenous Youth Declaration.