Polynesian Canoe Voyaging on Land in Oahu


The spirit of Hokulea, Hawaii’s traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, is alive and well on the islands.

One of these canoes is on a three-year worldwide expedition covering 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports and 26 countries. Crew members, continuing their ancestor’s voyaging traditions, are using the stars, waves, wind and birds for assistance to map their way. But visitors to Hawaii can experience the essence of the Hokulea in a number of ways.

For instance, they can virtually hop on board the Hokulea and navigate from Tahiti to Hawaii during a special daily show at the Bishop Museum on Oahu. The 45-minute planetarium program titled “Wayfinders: Waves, Winds, and Stars” was produced in collaboration with the Polynesian Voyaging Society. A broader perspective on the story of Pacific migration is in the newly renovated Pacific Hall, which features a display of artifacts, images and recordings of the native islanders.

As well, the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu’s North Shore is home to Iosepa, a 60-foot double-hulled voyaging canoe that was built for educational purposes and has completed several interisland sails since being launched in 2004. Twice a day, native islanders from the Hawaii village give a special presentation in a special halau waa (canoe house) where Iosepa is housed, sharing the story of how their ancestors braved deep-ocean voyages.