Hokulea to carry messages from hundreds of Hawaii keiki

Students from Kalihi Waena Elementary create messages of malama honua.
Students from Kalihi Waena Elementary create messages of malama honua.

Whether it’s in our backyard or in a foreign country, wherever Hokulea sails, there is a beautiful exchange of cultures, traditions, protocols and gifts.

At Honolulu Community College’s Marine Education and Training Center, students from Kalihi Waena Elementary were hard at work, creating drawings and messages of malama honua. The native Hawaiian phrase means to take care of the aina of the earth — the theme of Hokulea’s upcoming worldwide voyage.

“All the kids in the different schools come down and do a portion of a flag, a panel if you will,” said Jennifer Nadeau, a volunteer with Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Hundreds of children across the state have drawn messages over the last several months during their visits to Hokulea and Hikianalia. Students were encouraged to think of what they want to share with children around the world and illustrate what’s special about Hawaii and the values they hold dear.

Fifth-grader Dilbuil Floyd described his message as “to be happy and to be true to yourself and to be you.” Classmate Julia Dauz said, “I want to say be safe and take care and have a good future.”

Those messages will be stitched together in flags that will be carried on the canoes. “All the mana from all the haumana is going to be on Hokulea for protection, for guidance, for inspiration,” Nadeau said.

The peace flags will also be sewn into quilts and given as gifts at the various ports of call.

“We have volunteers making blankets, sewing them into blankets,” said Hokulea captain and navigator Kaiulani Murphy. “I think any kind of little things that we can leave with people that help to make our voyage possible will be awesome.”

“This is bigger than just this moment,” Nadeau said. “These kids doing this, their mana is going to be spread throughout the journey, across the ocean on Hokulea.”

Messages are sewn into blankets for gifts at various ports of call.
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