School leaders pledge to bring Hokule’a voyage to classrooms


School leaders pledge to bring Hokule’a voyage to classrooms

By Marcel Honoré

Education leaders across Hawaii agree: When the Hoku­le‘a embarks on its daring sea voyage around the globe next year, thousands of local students should come along for the ride.

On Monday, officials with the state Board of Education, the University of Hawaii, Kame­ha­meha Schools, Punahou School and other institutions pledged to work with the Polynesian Voyaging Society to bring the upcoming trip into classrooms across Hawaii.

“Any child can be on the voyage, if not on the deck,” society President Nai­noa Thompson said after an hourlong ceremony with its new education partners at the Marine Education and Training Center on Sand Island. The group signed a document dubbed “Promise to Children,” a legally nonbinding pledge to use the Hoku­le‘a journey in their classroom curricula.

The voyaging society plans to post online dispatches of the approximately 48-month, 49,000-nautical-mile voyage from a new vessel, the Hiki­ana­lia, which will join the Hoku­le‘a to provide science, safety support and educational outreach.

The Hokule‘a first set sail more than 30 years ago in the manner of the ancient Polynesians, and its crew plans to leave Hawaii on its Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage in early May. It’s the first time the craft, largely credited with helping to revive Hawaiian traditions, will attempt such an ambitious — and dangerous — undertaking.

Thompson said he wants the journey’s educational benefits for Hawaiian students back home to outweigh the risks. He aims for those who participate to feel pride in their Hawaiian culture, and for the Hoku­le‘a’s voyage to inspire them to find their own way in life.

He wasn’t sure how many students would experience the journey in class. However, about 20,000 local school children have visited the famous double-hulled voyaging canoe in the past five months as its crew completed the training leg considered part of the trip, Thompson said.

It’s a way to “connect this 21st-century technology — and all the science that the students need to learn — with some very fundamental values,” Schools Superintendent Kathryn Mata­yo­shi said Monday.

Isaiah Pule, a senior at Kamaile Academy in Wai­anae and a member of the public charter school’s navigation club, also spoke Monday. Pule, 17, said all the knot-tying, sailing and other activities he’s done with the voyaging society during the past five years or so have given him confidence and a better sense of Hawaiian identity.

It’s also helped open doors. Last summer, Pule said, he gave a talk on traditional sailing during a college readiness program held on Hawaii island.

Pule was approached afterward by the University of Rochester’s dean of admissions, who was in the audience, to see if he was interested in the university, Pule said. Pule’s still not sure where he’ll attend college, but he’ll leave the islands Friday for New York to visit Rochester, N.Y.

Hokuleha brings together educators


When the Hokulea begins its worldwide voyage in May 2014, 175 schools and academic organizations will be following along.

Not in the ocean, but in the classroom.

Monday, several of Hawaii’s top educators signed a pledge to support the mission of the Hokulea and the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

While the vessel will be sailed in the traditional manner, without any electronic guidance systems of machine power, its sister canoe the Hikianalia will be fully trimmed with technology. It will be able to send back scores of information that will catalog the voyage for students’ use.

“I think it’s huge, I really think it’s huge” said Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Those are the kinds of things that will live with them for the rest of their lives. It’s the kind of values you want to see in a community that is strong and healthy” she continued.

Nainoa Thompson, the driving force behind the PVS, posed the task as a question.

“How can the voyage capture the imagination and the spirit and the creativity of children?”

The answer, he says, is to inspire students with hands on education, something far more valuable than lessons learned from a book.

Proof of success can already be seen in two Kamaile Academy students, Isaiah Pule and Daniel Corpuz. They have apprenticed on the ship through their school’s navigator’s club.

“I just got to know more of how proud I should be to be Hawaiian, and how proud I should be to be part of PVS” said Pule.

“There are a lot of challenges in life, but as long as you take it on with the right mindset you can accomplish anything” added Corpuz, sounding far more mature than his 15 years of age.

While they will not be on the worldwide voyage in person, they will be there in spirit. Thompson hopes the same for countless school children across the globe.

“Any child on the planet can be on the voyage even though they’re not on the deck. So it allows for the many, possibly millions to part of the voyage”.

A blessing will be held in Hilo on May 3. After that, the ships navigators will pick the time upon which to set sail.

The voyage is expected to take roughly three years to complete.