‘Success’: Hundreds gather in Juneau for historic Hokulea welcoming ceremony

The voyaging canoe and its crew will travel to nearly 40 countries.
Published: Jun. 10, 2023 at 8:55 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 10, 2023 at 9:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of people welcomed Hokulea to Juneau on Saturday as the voyaging canoe prepares for next week’s launch of its four-year voyage of the Pacific.

The voyaging canoe and its crew will travel to nearly 40 countries.

Hokulea arrived close to shore at Auke Kwaan (Auke Bay) after sailing roughly 90 miles. Four Alaska canoes called Yaawk circled Hokulea and came together before bringing the crew to shore.

“They will stay on their canoes, and the Yaxteitaan and Wooshkeetaan will ask them who they are and their purposes for coming here,” said ʻWaahlaal Giidaak Barbara Blake.

SPECIAL SECTION: Hokulea’s Pacific Voyage

Along with the arrival of vessels were members of the original 1976 Hokulea crew; “Shorty” Bertelmann, John Kruse, Billy Richards, and Nainoa Thompson.

“These kinds of gatherings of Indigenous people are becoming more and more normal around the world,” said Randie Fong, vice president of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs at Kamehameha Schools.

The weather was warm enough Saturday for jackets to come off. When it started to rain, it was a welcomed gesture for the Hokulea crew to receive warm blankets from the Alaska crew.

“It’s success for all of us. It’s like, hey, ‘family. We are here,’” said Snowbird Bento, kumu hula and cultural consultant at Kamehameha Schools.

“They worked hard on the wa’a (canoe), and they were able to be successful in reaching their destination,” she added.

Leaders and students did protocol for Hokulea. For some, this is a new experience. For others, theyʻve traveled around the world for this beloved and iconic symbol of Hawaii.