On March 8, 1975, Hōkūke‘a, a replica of a traditional Hawaiian wa‘a kaulua (double-hulled voyaging canoe), was launched from the sacred shores of Hakipu‘u-Kualoa, in Kāne‘ohe Bay on the island of O‘ahu.
She was designed by artist and historian Herb Kawainui Kāne, one of the founders of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. The canoe was named Hōkūle‘a (“Star of Gladness”), a zenith star of Hawai‘i, which appeared to him growing ever brighter in a dream.
This launching was one of many events that marked a generation of renewal for Hawai‘i’s indigenous people. Along with the renewal of voyaging and navigation traditions came a renewal of Hawaiian language, dance, chant, and many other expressions of Hawaiian culture.
The renewal represented a new-found respect and appreciation for Hawaiian culture, by all of Hawai’i's people. For the Hawaiian people, it has meant that they once again have begun to feel proud of who they are, and where they come from.
During that generation of voyaging (1975-2000), Hōkūke‘a sailed on six major voyages from Hawai‘i, at the apex of the Polynesian triangle, to Aotearoa (New Zealand) at the southwestern corner, and finally to Rapa Nui, at the southeastern corner. Her voyages inspired a revival of canoe building and voyaging throughout the Polynesia.
Hōkūle‘a emerged from that generation of renewal as a widely recognized icon and symbol of Hawaiian culture and pride. She also journeyed beyond Polynesia, to the West Coast of America (1995) and Micronesia and Japan (2007) to share Hawaiian culture and values with the peoples of the Pacific Ocean.
During her voyages, Hōkūle‘a carries the hopes, aspirations, and dreams of the thousands of people who have cared for her and touched her, from all walks of life and all ethnicities, from all the places where she has traveled.
With the Worldwide Voyage, we hope to inspire and create opportunities for us to share our culture and be a part of a community that’s defined not by geography or ethnicity, but by our core values of aloha and mālama, to care for each other and the land and sea that sustain us.