Vaka Faafaite escorted the two Hawaiian canoes to Rarotonga from Tahiti and set a return course home yesterday morning.
Faafaite motored into Avatiu harbour, where crew members performed a haka from the decks of the vaka to honour their fellow voyagers on Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia, as well as their hosts on Rarotonga.
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Crews on the Hawaiian canoes, along with friends and family that gathered on the vaka, returned the haka challenge with their own fond farewells and prayers of safe travels and fair winds exchanged.
Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia set a course from Avatiu harbour to Aitutaki where they will stay for three days before voyaging to the marine and bird sanctuary island Suwarrow on their way to Apia, Samoa.
While on Rarotonga, Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia crew have been sharing with the community their mission and vision that come under the umbrella of ‘island wisdom, ocean connections, global lessons’.
The vaka are sailing across earth’s oceans to join and grow the global movement toward a more sustainable world, and are two months into the two-year journey.
Covering 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports and 26 countries, the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage will highlight diverse cultural and natural treasures and the importance of working together to protect them.
The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage began in 2013 with a Mālama Hawaiʻi sail around the archipelago and will continue through 2017 when the new generation of navigators take the helm and guide Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia back to Polynesia after circumnavigating the globe.
The Hawaiian name for this voyage, Mālama Honua, means “to care for our earth”.
A statement on the Hokulea website reads: “Living on an island chain teaches us that our natural world is a gift with limits, and that we must carefully steward this gift if we are to survive together.
"As we work to protect cultural and environmental resources for our children’s future, our Pacific voyaging traditions teach us to venture beyond the horizon to connect and learn with others.
"The Worldwide Voyage is a means by which we now engage all of Island Earth—practicing how to live sustainably, while sharing, learning, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of this precious place we all call home.”