By: Stephen Florino
(KHNL) - The Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea will set sail to Micronesia and Japan next year.
The purpose is to continue the education process for our students and cultures, but the journey also has a much deeper meaning -- honor our historical ties to both island groups.
"Mau has always said this is one ocean -- one people come together, so we're attempting to do that," said master navigator Nainoa Thompson.
Mau is master navigator Mau Piailug. He taught Thompson the ancient form of navigation, guided Hokulea's maiden voyage, and the man credited with reawakening Hawaii's voyaging tradition.
The Pacific voyaging family is presenting him with a new canoe.
"Such a small token to give to him, but yet it is very large in symbolism," said Chadd Paishon, of Na Kalai Waa O Hawaii. "We can give back to him a voyaging canoe to help, to allow them to continue their great culture."
Hokulea will set sail in January for a five month voyage spanning more than 7,000 miles from Hawaii, to Micronesia and Japan.
The trip to Japan is meant to continue historic cultural connections.
"We're following in the footsteps of Kalakaua," said Thompson, speaking of King David Kalakaua's visit to Japan's emperor in 1881.
Hokulea will make nine stops in Japan, with seven being ports where many Hawaiian immigrants came from.
"We hope that this small little voyage, this small little canoe, will bring the world a little bit of peace, in a time we need it more than ever," said Thompson.