This has been an extraordinary year with the return of the Hokule’a and the 100th year celebration of Queen Liliuokalani. Members of the Heritage Park Foundation were at both historic cultural events not just in honor of our ancient past and cultural achievements but solidifying the relationships between the people of Hawaii and those around the world. More importantly however amongst ourselves. It is not just a celebration of great events but it is about us. It is about connecting those who are no longer with those of us today and those children yet unborn. It is about sacrifice and service unto others. That is what defines us as not just Hawaiians but as honorable people. This is what we cannot forget and what we must leave for our children. This is what is significant about the celebration of our Queen and the return of the Hokule’a and being a part of the celebration.
It was evident on June 17 where some 50,000 people stood on Magic Island in anticipation of Hokule’a’s return home. I have never seen so many people celebrating a cultural event. However, the homecoming of the Hokule’a was not an ordinary event. As I walked amongst the crowd prior to the Hokule’a’s arrival what was most evident to me was the ease with which people were able to speak to one they did not know. I must have been stopped 10 times by people I did not know who wanted to share their excitement of the day with me in the short walk from the parking lot to the floating dock where it was planned for the Hokule’a to tie up. This was an extremely extraordinary day of a people who were proud of who they were.
The celebration of the homecoming of the Hokule’a and all the people that made it happen was the culmination of a trip that took 3 years, 40,000 nautical miles, stops at 150 ports of call and 18 nations. They navigated around the world with no instruments. Simply guided by the stars, winds, currents and birds.
In the weeks leading up to the Hokule’a’s homecoming we were asked by Kamana’opono Crabbe of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs if we could bring tall feather kahili to Magic Island. The entire homecoming program had been planned for months. There was only one thing missing. It was an effort to elevate the level of a homecoming to one of chiefly status. Deserving of not just the Hokule’a but all her sister voyaging canoes from Hawaii including Tahiti, Aotearoa.
On November 11, 8:30 am from the Hokule’a offshore was observed a rainbow over the area of Iolani Palace. In unison with 100 churches around O’ahu the Hokule’a sounded her pu in honor of a Queen.
By Shad Kane