The Hōkūle'a is a Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe. Hōkūle'a literally translates to "Star of Gladness". She is named after the star that travels directly above the lattitude of Hawai'i. Her first long-distance was from Hawai'i to Tahiti in 1976. The crew used onlye traditional Polynesian navigation techniques to follow the stars and currents to sail across the Pacific. This voyage was a demonstration of the traditional ways of navigation that once was common across Polynesia.



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Fig. 1. The Hōkūle'a arrives in Honululu after traveling from Tahiti in 1976.

Image copyright and source

Image courtesy of Phil Uhl, Wikimedia Commons

In 2017, the Hōkūle'a completed an even longer journey, the Mālama Honua (to care for mother Earth), Fig. 2. For three years, the historic polynesian voyaging canoe sailed around the world—using traditional navigation to unite indigenous cultures and inspire stewardship to care for our island Earth. Hōkūle‘a was welcomed home by a massive celebration in Honolulu, which began the start of another journey, the Mahalo Sail, to bring traditional voyaging knowledge and practices to the communities of Hawai'i.


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Fig. 2. The Hōkūle‘a arrives home to Honolulu after three years sailing around the world during the Mālama Honua voyage.

Image copyright and source

Image courtesy of Todd Bradley.


To learn more about the Hōkūle'a, check out the useful links below:

  1. The Polynesian Voyaging Society: The story of Hōkūle'a
  2. Hōkūle'a Wikipedia Page
  3. Hawai'i News Now Word of the Day: Hōkūle'a
  4. Star Advertiser Detailed Diagram of the Hōkūle'a
  5. History of Hawaii’s Voyaging Canoe from Hawaiian Paddle Sports

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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawai?i, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.