[This text is from an official press release of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.]
(Mataiea, Tahiti) – As part of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, Hawaii’s legendary Polynesian voyaging canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia visited Mataiea and were greeted by Alpha Tearii, mayor of Mataiea and minister of Marine and Land Resources, and with an overwhelming show of support by the community. In a grand welcoming ceremony, over 500 third graders and college students from Mairipehe Primary School, Nuutafaratea Primary School, Matairea Primary School, and Teva I Uta College celebrated the shared malama honua vision of caring for the oceans and land for future generations in Tahitian, French and English.
It has been over 40 years since Hokulea first arrived in Mataiea, which is known for its rich cultural heritage and abundant in natural beauty. “They are doing a lot of really good things here and we are witness to that,” said Bruce Blankenfeld, pwo navigator of the Hokulea. “I see us coming back with future generations to engage, because that is what the voyage is about. It’s about discovering.”
The next day, following a community breakfast and coconut tree planting ceremony with local children, Hokulea and Hikianalia departed for Tautira on Tahiti’s south-east coast.
The sister canoes will continue to travel throughout Tahiti and Raiatea to engage with the local communities in ceremony and education outreach as they celebrate the close of the nearly four-year long journey. Hokulea and Hikianalia are making their way back to Hawaii together for a homecoming ceremony at Magic Island in June 2017.