With Easter Island’s famous moai a backdrop, the people of Rapa Nui officially welcomed Hawaii’s voyaging canoe Hokulea and her crew this weekend.
They were greeted with a traditional landing ceremony at Anakena Beach.
A group from Hawaii flew in for the celebration, including from Kamehameha Schools and the Nahiku student delegation, a group that focuses on perpetuating the Polynesian culture and wayfinding.
Hokulea’s first and, until now, only previous voyage to this eastern-most tip of the Polynesian Triangle was 18 years ago, in 1999.
“This being her second time here, they know the canoe now, they understand who she is and what she’s been doing and everybody is starting to embrace that more,” said Hokulea captain and navigator Bruce Blankenfeld.
Arrival in Rapa Nui marks Hokulea’s first return to the Polynesian Triangle in two years, when she left Aotearoa, or New Zealand to continue her voyage around the world.
Hokulea is scheduled to depart Rapa Nui within the week, sail to French Polynesia then home to Hawaii in June.