Polynesian Navigators Want to Create a Better Environment

Radio New Zealand ran an interesting article about a meeting of Polynesian navigators to discuss the environment. For the first time about twenty-five traditional Polynesian voyaging leaders gathered to examine how they can work towards creating a better environmental balance. The Ho’okele Honua Summit was held at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii, a couple of months ago.

Nainoa Thompson of The Polynesian Voyaging Society’s warned the group that if they did not act or change, the world on its current pathway would take them to the island of extinction.

The summit began with a sacred awa (known as kava throughout the Pacific Islands) ceremony to welcome the voyaging community and continued with deep conversations around the environment and care of the land and sea.

A navigator from the Cook Islands, Tua Pittman, said the meeting was the beginning of a new era. “In all of our cultures, the canoe is a movement of people. It moves people from place to place.

“That canoe will always be there. We are jumping on a different canoe now. The canoe is a movement and this is what’s being formed right now. We are now building the hull of the new canoe, the spiritual canoe,” Tua Pittman said.

One of the navigators, Sesario Sewalur, stressed how important it was for the people of the Pacific to take the lead in protecting the ocean. “This is the only resource that we have in the Pacific. We need to show the world. We need to take care of things first,” he said.

“Even your house, you need to clean your house. Who is going to clean your house? It’s us that we need to take care of this, show the world how much we love our ocean.”

The society said with strategic partnerships and community support, the leaders hoped to break through social norms and inspire others to take greater responsibility for the environment.


The Hokule’a

If you plan to be in Honolulu, Hawaii this month I highly recommend that you check out the exhibit titled The Holo Moana: Generations of Voyaging that runs until June 24, 2018. This engaging exhibit celebrates the story of how a centuries-old ancestral practice has been re-awakened, re-activated, and re-envisioned by Hawaiian and Oceanic voyagers over the past five decades.


  • A wind-based immersive experience that brings to life the winds used by voyagers
  • A full-dome projection theater with audio narrated by PVS president Nainoa Thompson
  • A touchscreen interactive of crewmembers and all legs of Hōkūleʻa voyages
  • Footage of the original launching of the Hōkūleʻa
  • A 4 screen video wall, displaying the many instances of gift-giving and makana throughout the worldwide voyage of Mālama Honua.

About islandculturearchivalsupport

Island Culture Archival Support (ICAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of records pertaining to the cultural identity of island peoples in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia whose national and public archives, libraries, cultural centers, and business organizations are underprivileged, underfunded, and understaffed. The specific purpose for which this nonprofit corporation was formed is to support the needs of these South Pacific cultural heritage institutions by helping to preserve and make accessible records created for business, accountability or cultural purposes. The organization will endeavor to add value by providing resources or volunteers to advise, train, and work among island residents to support their efforts in building their future and preserving their collective memory through the use of modern archival techniques.
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