Schools team up with Polynesian Voyaging Society

Published On: Nov 04 2013 04:13:00 PM HST

The voyaging canoe Hokule'a is Hawaii's newest classroom.

The state's educational leaders partnered with the Polynesian Voyaging Society's ongoing Worldwide Voyage on Monday.

Click here to watch Justin Fujioka's report.

For the past five months, the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule'a and her escort vessel Hikianalia, have been sailing around Hawaii and welcoming thousands aboard.

It's the first leg of the Polynesian Voyaging Society's Worldwide Voyage to inspire and educate children about what it does, and it's a lot more than just navigating and knot tying.

"(I learned) how to present myself and present my culture to a lot of people, showing them what we can do in the capabilities we have," said Kamaile Academy senior Daniel Corpuz.

"The most I've learned about myself is mostly my identity, my ancestry, background, who I am and where I'm, where I come from," said Isaiah Pule, a Kamaile Academy sophomore.

Leaders representing every level of education in the islands teamed up with the mission.

Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi called it exciting opportunity.

"Kids were going down to see the canoe, they wanted to be there, they wanted to see it, touch it, understand what was going on," she said. "You don't get that kind of inspiration everyday and I think it touched a place in their heart and in their mind and that was very unique."

Master navigator Nainoa Thompson said, "We just try to help inspire learning and then to strengthen and support teachers."

Hikianalia is equipped with the latest technology to allow crew members to communicate with schools.

Several of Hawaii's school leaders and students signed a document called the "Promise to Children."

"This is Hawaii's document," Thompson said. "This is from Hawaii's leaders and it comes from this amazing, special place on the earth. It allows us to take that document to anywhere else on the planet."

Tahiti is the first stop on the Worldwide Voyage outside Hawaii. Hokule'a, Hikianalia and the "Promise to Children" leave the islands in early May.

As for safety on their voyage, Thompson said it is paramount. Not only are they taking into consideration the constantly-changing weather, but also the existence of pirates and anti Americanism.

The Worldwide Voyage is scheduled to end in 2017.


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