After Five Months at Sea, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia Reach Bay of Islands, New Zealand for the First time in 30 Years

by Owen James Burke

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Five months ago, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia left Hawaii for New Zealand for the first time in 30 years. Many of the guest navigators onboard were younger than the canoes themselves, and had never set sail in blue water. (Photo: Jason Patterson)

The Hōkūleʻa reached New Zealand for the first time in 30 years on Tuesday, and were received with open arms by the local Māori people. Up until yesterday, there were five main Māori tribes in Northern New Zealand, but Sir James Henare wanted to honor those who made the voyage from Hawaii, and all aboard the Hōkūleʻa were named Ngāti Ruawahia, becoming the sixth.

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This name board was painted before the sailing canoe’s first voyage, over 30 years ago (Photo: Na‘alehu Anthony)

But for the voyaging family, or tribe as Sir Henare will now refer to them, the journey so far is only a sliver of their intended 45,000-mile circumnavigation. Their mission? They’re not gonna change the world, they’re going to build a network of people around the world who are,” says the successor to master navigator and original expedition leader Mau Pialug, Nainoa Thompson.

Upon reaching the Bay of Islands, Māori Television reports that Thompson had the following to say:

“On that waka right now are young Hawaiian people with some of your Aotearoa masters Frank Kawe Jackko Thatcher and you have others on Hikianalia, that’s what its all about.  And the need for Pacific people to come together and start to reshape and take responsibility for our future, its crucial now!”

Congratulations to all involved, though we had no doubt you’d make it. The Hawaiian voyagers are to be officially welcomed on Saturday at Waitangi.

Watch Māori Television News coverage of the event here, and stay updated by visiting the Hōkūleʻa website  — OB

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