Our arrival in Aotearoa has been a homecoming for Hōkūle’a and Hikianalia, a chance to renew our connection and the shared voyaging heritage of our people.
The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines arrived in Auckland on December 7, 2014 (Hawaiʻi Standard Time). An event to welcome the traditional Polynesian voyaging canoes Hōkūle’a and Hikianalia took place at Karanga Plaza and featured warm greetings from Mayor Len Brown, leaders of the Maori voyaging community, representatives from the New Zealand Maritime Museum and from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).
ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley said the arrival of the fleet was a very unique and special sight which attracted spectators from Auckland’s strong and proud multicultural community. “Waka have been a significant part of Auckland’s history and the city is known in te reo Māori as Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Tāmaki, a place where many waka converge − representative of the hundreds of canoes that could be seen on Auckland’s harbors in the past.”
The voyaging canoes and their crew arrived in Okahu Bay for today’s welcome ceremony and will be docked at the New Zealand Maritime Museum through April, 2015. During their time in Aotearoa, Hōkūle’a and Hikianalia crew will engage with the community to share the education mission of Mālama Honua: working together to care for our Island Earth. Crew will build mālama honua collaborations between teachers and students in Hawai‘i and Aotearoa, and build on education and environment efforts throughout the Pacific that use traditional wisdom to safeguard the earth for future generations.
“Our arrival in Aotearoa has been a homecoming for Hōkūle’a and Hikianalia, a chance to renew our connection and the shared voyaging heritage of our people,” said navigator Bruce Blankenfeld. “We have much to learn from our family here, and it is a unique privilege to share the inspiring stories we have collected during these first legs of our voyage around the world.”
The current leg of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage honors Hōkūle’a’s first voyage to Aotearoa nearly 30 years ago, retracing the routes of settlement used by her Polynesian ancestors. As a celebration of that rich history, this leg of the Mālama Honua voyage has carried the theme, “Nā Waka: A Tribe Returning Home.”