Pape'ete markes end of 1st leg in international trip for Hokulea, Hikianalia
Updated On: Jun 23 2014 08:00:45 PM HST
Hokule'a and Hikianalia brought an end to the first international leg of the voyage around the world when they arrived in Pape'ete, Tahiti Sunday.
As soon as Hokule'a was spotted on the horizon, drumming and chanting began to welcome the canoe back to Tahiti for the first time in 14 years.
The crew came to land with a traditional Tahitian welcome and were greeted with lei by dancers.
At the marae, or sacred place, there was a presentation of wai (water) and a pohaku (stone) from Hokule'a's birthplace on O'ahu-Hakipu'u.
The festivities continued through the evening with navigator Nainoa Thompson looking back to Hokule'a's maiden voyage in 1976 when 17,000 people gathered to greet the canoe. He recalled how so many people climbed on board that they nearly swamped the Hokule'a.
Thompson thanked the Tahitian people for the gift they gave Hawaiians on that day.
"They told us to be proud of who we are as Pacific people. Be proud of our culture and hang on to who we are. Tahiti changed Hawaii for the better, forever," said Thompson.
This week crew members will meet with the public to talk about navigation and the Malama Honua efforts.
Paofai beach, where Hokule'a first landed in 1976, will officially be renamed Hokule'a beach next Sunday.
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