Inspired / 24 June 2011
23 June 2011
We were set to sail directly from Hilo to O’ahu but plans changed... for the better.
It was truly a blessing to have visited Maui and Molokai. These islands and their communities are so different from each other but they bring an added dimension of understanding to the experience of our voyage. We were not scheduled to stop over and for these communities to organize a welcome was truly amazing. Imagine having to host over 140 seafaring people from islands across the pacific ocean and having just three days to plan and organize. It is during times like these that you understand the true sense of community and how our Hawaiian brothers and sisters went beyond the call to make us feel so special and so appreciated.
It is during times like these that you understand how our voyage has brought so many people together, to share, to love, to dream.
It is times like these that you will remember for the rest of your life.
We don’t know when there will be a visit of 7 vaka on these shores again, the people of Hawaii understood that and only now are we starting to realize how lucky we are to play a part in this voyage.
For our vaka, Faafaite and all of the crew, this is an adventure of a lifetime, a first time experience for all of us, we didn’t know what to expect, so we prepared as best as we could, we learned cultural protocol, conducted religious ceremonies as our ancestors have done in the past to understand the spirituality of a voyage, we learned songs and genealogy chants, we have learned to carve wood and to fabricate with our own hands our Unu to give as gifts to the leaders of the communities we will meet, we have set up a communication strategy to make sure our children can follow us throughout our journey, we wanted to make sure that this voyage had a profound meaning and sense to each and everyone that has been involved. We have sailed to Hawaii to honor those that have passed on the knowledge and wisdom of ancestral navigation. To honor the voyaging societies of Hawaii that have waited so patiently that our people of Tahiti finally join them on this adventure. To seal and strengthen the bond created by Hokulea. It has taken us 35 years since then for a Tahitian canoe to arrive on Hawaii's shores. An arrival that was long overdue considering the multiple voyages our Hawaiian brothers and sisters have made to visit us. Not to take away from the efforts of our elders that have tried very hard and sacrificed so much to make it happen but could not for some reason unknown.
Maybe it was because our Tahitian people were not ready, maybe it was because the timing was not right, whatever the reason... better late then never and much mahalo for all the encouragements we received along the way from our brothers and sisters of Hawaii.
We are here to learn, to be inspired by the beauty of nature but also by the gatherings. The Hawaiian people have created a world they can count on for their future generations. A world where their language is the first one taught to their children in school, a world where summer programs are more then just fun educational activities but cultural practices that lead to awe inspiring demonstrations founded on principles of “kuleana”, responsibility. Mahalo to the numerous schools and education programs that have shared their heart and soul with us, each encounter, each exchange has been so moving and heart warming and as they say in Hawaii “chicken skin”.
Not with us physically but with us in spirit are the hundreds and thousands of people who have supported us from home and overseas: our families, our friends, our bosses, even people we have never met before and especially the children of Tahiti who have all felt a sense of pride in watching us achieve our goals every step of the way. It is for all these reasons we sail, it is for all these reasons we have taken the responsibility to do the best we can to represent our islands.