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Polynesian Voyaging Society launches a four-year Moananuiākea Voyage

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Moananuiākea Voyage. PC: Polynesian Voyaging Society.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society announced that it will launch a planned circumnavigation of the Pacific upon arrival in Juneau, Alaska on June 10, 2023.  PVS spent five years planning for the Moananuiākea Voyage, which will take four years to complete. 

About 400 crew members will take turns sailing the Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia an estimated 43,000 nautical miles around the Pacific, visiting  36 countries and archipelagoes, nearly 100 indigenous territories and more than 300 ports.

The goal of the voyage is to ignite a movement of 10 million “planetary navigators” by developing young leaders and engaging communities around the world to take part in navigating the earth towards a healthy, thriving future.

The voyage itself is a global educational campaign that will amplify the vital importance of oceans and indigenous knowledge through education and storytelling shared via a virtual “Third Canoe” called Waʻa Honua, meaning a canoe for the earth.  PVS and its educational partners are creating stories, and lessons for all ages with the goal of inspiring people to care for and make better choices for the earth.


“This is about not just the oceans, but this is about taking discovery and moving it towards choices and moving it towards the choices that will take action that we believe is going to help build a future that is good enough for our kids,” said Nainoa Thompson, CEO, Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Moananuiākea Voyage. PC: Polynesian Voyaging Society.

“Moananuiākea, I believe, is the most difficult voyage, partly because physically it’s the longest time and distance and it’s hard – the currents, the tides, the issue of hypothermia in Alaska, we need to be prepared. But what I really mean by most difficult is achievement of the mission.  Weʻre trying to reclaim our relationship to the earth and the destination is not ours.  It’s whether this world is going to be healthy for our children,” added Thompson.

Hōkūleʻa’s journey to Alaska will begin on April 16.  Hōkūleʻa, her escort boat, and gear and supplies will be transported to Juneau, Alaska via Matson and Alaska Marine Lines.  We are deeply grateful for their donation of services, which provide the essential safe passage of Hōkūleʻa.  Hōkūleʻa will first journey to Yakutat, Alaska to begin a pre-voyage “Heritage Sail” along the Southeast region to pay homage to Native Alaskan leaders and the places that played a part in building the longstanding relationship between Hawaiʻi and Alaska.  

On June 10, Hōkūleʻa is scheduled to arrive in Juneau and will be welcomed at Auke Bay, the traditional lands of the A’akw Kwáan. The canoe and crew will remain in Juneau for a week of community and educational engagements.  On Thursday, June 15, Hōkūleʻa will depart Juneau after a celebratory ceremony launching the start of the circumnavigation of the Pacific.


“We begin with a 31-year relationship with the native people of southeast Alaska. And I think Alaska is the appropriate place to begin because in the end this is about family — the family of the earth. And so we go from one family to another, building relationships grounded in respect and trust – a crucial pathway for peace.” said Thompson.

Hōkūleʻa’s sister canoe Hikianalia will join the voyage in Seattle, WA in August of this year.

Regional Sail Plan (Subject to change):

  • June to September 2023 – Alaska, British Columbia, Seattle
  • September to November 2023 – West Coast of the United States
  • January  to February 2024 – Mexico, Central America, South America
  • March – December 2024 – Exploring the largest country in the world, our country, Polynesia
  • December 2024 to May 2025 –  Aotearoa 
  • May to March 2026  – Melanesia, Micronesia and Palau
  • March to September 2026 – West Pacific, ending in Japan  
  • September to December 2026 – Shipping from Japan to Los Angeles then sailing home to Hawaiʻi
  • Spring 2027 – Tahiti

PVSʻ Indigenous Partners from across Moananuiākea today expressed their support of the voyage, including those from Hōkūleʻaʻs first destination, Alaska.  Alaska Native Leaders: President Richard Peterson, Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska; Anthony Mallott, Sealaska Corporation; Barbara Blake, First Alaskans Institute, were among those joining the press conference by Zoom to officially invite and welcome Hōkūleʻa and crew to their lands.  


Also at today’s press conference, Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram announced that Hawaiʻi’s hometown carrier will provide 34 million air miles for crew travel as well as cargo support around the Pacific.  Hawaiian Airlines, which also sponsored the 2013-2109 Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, will be a Moa’e Kū sponsor, named for the predictable, steady and reliable wind that navigators depend on. 

Kamehameha Schools CEO Jack Wong affirmed the organization’s continued support for PVS and the Moananuiākea Voyage.  Ever since Hōkūleʻa first entered the waters of Kualoa in 1975, Kamehameha Schools has provided cultural leadership in caring for and perpetuating PVS’ Hawaiian-Polynesian identity, heritage and protocols. Dedicated to world class culture-based learning, it offers digital voyaging education, exploration of Pacific peoples and places and is well-represented among the seasoned and emerging PVS voyaging leadership.  Kamehameha Schools will be a Manu O Kū sponsor, named for the most important bird that voyagers and navigators depend on, as its flight always helps them find home.

Additional partners contributing to PVS’ educational mission and connecting classrooms to the Moananuiākea Voyage include University of Hawaii, Hawaii Department of Education, Arizona State University, and Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary.  Nakupuna Foundation is designing and maintaining the web site.


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