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Community invited to Kahilu Theatre send-off celebration with Moku o Keawe crew

Sixteen Moku o Keawe, Hawaii Island, residents will soon fly to Tahiti to become crew members aboard the Hokule’a and Hikianali’a voyaging canoes on the next leg of a three-year world wide sail. The community is invited to a send-off celebration from 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, June 18, at Kahilu Theatre to learn more about this extraordinary adventure to connect with and share the message of “Malama Honua” – taking care of Mother Earth – with people around the globe.

The celebration is free and everyone is invited.

Sponsored by Na Kalai Wa’a, Waimea Education Hui and the Waimea Middle School ‘Ike Hawai’i Program, it will be hosted by PWO Navigator Chadd Onohi Paishon, who will take on navigator responsibilities for the Hokule’a’s Tahiti to Cook Islands to Samoa leg of the WWV.

Joining Paishon on the Hokule’a will be others from Hawaii Island who have been training for many months including Keala Kahuanui, Keali’i Maielua, Mike Manu, Kala Thomas, Kaniela Anakalea Buckley, Kalani Kahalioumi and Leiohu Colburn.

Also honored that evening will be Hikianali’a crew members who will serve under the leadership of Kalepa Babayan, who is of one of Moku o Keawe’s other two PWO navigators. Babayan is now sailing on the Hokule’a with navigator Nainoa Thompson; he will captain/navigate Hikianali’a on the Tahiti-Cook Islands-Samoa leg. Joining Babayan on the Hikianali’a for this leg of the voyage from Moku o Keawe will be Ahlung Yung, Henani Enos, Haunani Keamo, Maulili Dickson (Waimea), Kaimana Bacarse, Tava Taupu, Gaylan Macanas and Scottie Kanada. All Hawai’i island voyagers are being invited to the Kahilu celebration, though Babayan is on the first leg of the sail.

The Kahilu Theatre celebration will begin with an opening pule and showing of two short films, one of the recent launch of the Hokule’a and Hikianali’a from Oahu, and a second one of the more recent departure of the two wa’a from Hilo.

Throughout the past year there has been a great deal of preparation required including extensive planning and paperwork for passports and other documentation, doctor’s exams and tests to be sure everyone is physically ready for the voyage and has the gear they need, said Paishon.

Paishon added that a lot of time has lapsed since the Hokule’a visited Samoa and much has changed. Also, he said the Malama Honua theme is very personal for crew members; it connects or re-connects us to the islands and people we have met on past voyages and new ones we will meet along the way.

Also new is the technology available on board the two wa’a, including both the Internet and use of photovoltaic to enable use of computers and such communication tools as “Google Hangout,” — an Internet-based video conferencing capability. This will allow crew members to talk story throughout the voyage with classrooms around the state as they did recently with Waimea Middle and Elementary School students.

Concluding the Kahilu Theatre celebration will be sharing of a new chant that was written by Pua Kanahele for the voyage, and there also will be a recognition of the crew members, gift giving and a blessing.

Piashon and crew members will fly to Tahiti about July 5 and will be there about a week for additional safety training before setting off from Mo’orea to Huahine, Taputapuatea, Taha’a, Bora Bora, Maupiti, Napukoru, Avatiu, Aitutaki, Puka Puka, Manua and finally Pago Pago.

Also part of the Kahilu talk story will be Pomai Bertelmann briefing the community on four agreed upon educational initiatives to connect classrooms and learning environments throughout Hawai’i Island with the wa’a. The Polynesian Voyaging Society is also providing standards-based curriculum for use by classroom teachers across the state.

At the end of the program, Paishon and the other voyagers will be available in the lobby at Kahilu Theatre to explain the voyage route and tracking.

No reservations are required; seating will be first come. For more information about the World Wide Voyage of the Hokule’a and Hikianali’a, visit