HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hawaii’s Hokule’a tour canoe sailed into Pokai Bay Thursday morning as part of a special educational event for Waianae Coast students.
The stopover comes as Polynesian Voyager Society crew members are busy preparing for a four-year voyage around the Pacific that begins in June.
Tyden-Marie Stewart, a student at Waianae High School, has seen Hokule’a in videos and photos.
But seeing the iconic canoe in real life is a first.
“It’s once in a lifetime,” Stewart said.
Stewart and the other students also saw four other Hawaiian canoes. They learned the ropes and raised the sails on the Kiakahi, sailing from Keukaha on the island of Hawaii.
“It feels like I’m connected to my roots and I’m Hawaiian. That’s something that’s really big for us,” he said.
Dwayne Desoto, founder and CEO of Na Kama Kai, helped organize the event – Hoakea Mauka to Makai for Our Future.
He says 300 Waianae Beach students came to the two-day event, which was attended by Hokule’a crew members, people in the waa (canoe) community, several non-profit organizations and community leaders.
The idea for Thursday’s event came from the Hakipu/Kualoa Canoe Festival.
“Young people in the West connect with these canoes, and fortunately, Hokule’a before she sails on her 4-year journey, it makes it even more. It makes it more connected to who they are,” Desoto said.
Public school students go on a virtual trip.
DOE Superintendent Keith Hayashi says events like Thursday’s help students get on with their lives, and he hopes the DOE can lead to more marine programs.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our students in the department to engage and learn not only the technological component, but also the cultural one,” he said.
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