The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage

Hōkūleʻa, a 62-foot sailing canoe, began its journey around the world in 2013. The name of the voyage, Mālama Honua, means “to care for our Earth.” This summer, a new generation of navigators will guide Hōkūleʻa back to its home in Hawai’i.

Malama Honua:
Hokule’a – A Voyage of Hope

This beautiful hardcover book chronicles Hōkūleʻa’s epic mission to nurture worldwide sustainability. Interwoven with descriptions of Hōkūleʻa’s experiences in port are the voices of the master navigators and crew members, who guide the ship along the ocean’s trackless path, and the local pioneers—scientists, teachers, and children touched by Hōkūleʻa—who work tirelessly to weather the many environmental challenges of our modern lives. 320 pages, with full-color photographs throughout.

By Jennifer Allen
Photos by John Bilderback

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Pwo navigator and Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson has navigated Hōkūle‘a for 35 years in the tradition of his ancestors: relying on the wind, moon, swells, birds, fish and stars as guides. JOHN BILDERBACK

Right Direction
By Nainoa Thompson

Since Hōkūle‘a was launched in 1975, we’ve seen that this magical vessel has the power to connect, inspire and transform communities and people. Carried upon her decks, Pacific peoples have revived the art and science of celestial navigation, wayfinding and deep-ocean voyaging that lay dormant for 600 years.

Voyaging aboard Hōkūle‘a for the past four decades has taught us to look to the past to strengthen our future; to bring the technology, wisdom and values of our ancestors into the present; and to call upon them to help us navigate to a brighter destination for our Island Earth.

Hikianalia crewmember Hervé Maraetaata drapes a lei over the bow during the send-off ceremony in Hilo at the start of the Worldwide Voyage. The ceremony in Palekai, which means “breakwater” or “to shield from the sea,” was done with warmth and aloha from the community to protect and nurture the crew of Hōkūleʻa on the outset of their journey. JOHN BILDERBACK

Long Live Hōkūleʻa
By Jennifer Allen & John Bilderback

The wind is quiet. The waters, still. The only ripples are those following children on paddleboards making large, awestruck circles around the double-hulled sailing canoe Hōkūleʻa. Ti-leaf garlands drape the bows. Sails remain wrapped and tied around the masts. In full wind, those sails will billow into a 50-foot spray of crimson, the color of a Hawaiian king’s cloak.

Hōkūleʻa has been harbored here in Palekai, a spring-fed cove near Hilo, for nearly a week now. Merchant ships, cargo containers and petroleum tanks surround this lava rock-girdled bay. Hōkūleʻa seems like an island unto herself—undaunted, anchored, awaiting the winds to sail.

Aotearoa is the Māori name for New Zealand, meaning “the land of the long white cloud.” Mount Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand. JOHN BILDERBACK

New Zealand
By Jennifer Allen & John Bilderback

As Hōkūle‘a continues the Worldwide Voyage, she weaves a global network of people devoted to the practice of Mālama Honua, to care for our island Earth. Last fall, several hundred greeted Hōkūle‘a as she made landfall in Waitangi, Aotearoa. Aotearoa is the Māori name for New Zealand, meaning “the land of the long white cloud.”

It had been more than thirty years since the canoe had first sailed to Aotearoa, tracing the migratory path of the Polynesians who first settled the Pacific. At the time of that first landfall in 1985, the sight of the majestic canoe sailing across these waters inspired a local leader to name the Hawaiians the Sixth Tribe of Tai Tokerau, the Northernmost land of New Zealand.

A thriving rainforest covers Rainmaker Mountain on the island of Tutuila in American Samoa. JOHN BILDERBACK

The Sāmoan Way
By Jennifer Allen & John Bilderback

An estimated 1,000 containers come into this harbor every month, providing the island with 90 percent of its food and supplies. This is a concern to Pua, who grew up as a fisherman, a hunter, and a farmer who harvested taro, bananas, and breadfruit. This is a man who used to spear fish in the harbor,but who now has to venture out of the harbor and to the outer reefs to find any fish at all. This is a man who used to hunt wild pig in the rainforest, a man who in the mere fifty-year span of his life has witnessed the shift from a relatively independent sustainable existence to a highly dependent, unsustainable lifestyle.

Sailing for over 40 years now, Hōkūle‘a has ignited a sailing canoe renaissance in island communities throughout Polynesia. JOHN BILDERBACK

Mālama Honua: Hōkūleʻa’s Voyage of Hope
By Jennifer Allen & John Bilderback

Realizing the global ‘ohana—family—is a key to the health of our planet. From a young marine scientist in American Samoa searching for a natural alternative for the removal of Crown of Thorns, to a Māori chief fighting to protect his ocean from seismic testing, to anurban Cuban farmer who has learned to feed his community without the use of pesticides, tractors, or fuel—the Worldwide Voyage is finding stories of hope that will bind us together as one family serving to Mālama Honua.