Upwards of 50,000 expected to welcome Hokulea home

Upwards of 50,000 expected to welcome Hokulea home
(Image: Polynesian Voyaging Society/Sam Kapoi)
The city announced closures in advance of the event. (Image: Honolulu City & County)
The city announced closures in advance of the event. (Image: Honolulu City & County)

MAGIC ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii residents are preparing for a historic homecoming as Hokulea worldwide journey comes to an end.

More than 50,000 people are expected at the homecoming ceremony at Ala Moana Regional Park and Magic Island on June 17.

The voyaging canoe is in Hawaii waters after travelling about 40,000 nautical miles to approximately 23 countries and territories and more than 150 ports.

"We're welcoming everyone. We don't want people to not come. We want people to come and feel the presence," Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said.

But with the massive homecoming, comes closures.

The Magic Island parking lot will be off limits from June 15 till June 17. The "keyhole parking area" next to McCoy Pavilion tennis courts will be also be closed from June 17-21.

Normally, parking is allowed is on the makai lane of Ala Moana Blvd on Saturdays; however, it will be prohibited on the day of the homecoming ceremony.

"For those who can, we would like to ask people to consider taking the bus here. There are 21 routes of service to Ala Moana center. Or consider car sharing, car pooling, getting dropped off here, taking a bike or walking if you can," city Department of Transportation Services Deputy Director Jon Nouchi said.

Because of all the parking restrictions, there will be paid parking at the Hawaii Convention Center for $10 per day from 7:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. There will be free parking at McKinley High School from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Shuttles will be available from those locations.

A large swell is expected next Saturday, but master navigator Nainoa Thompson said they are staying positive

"I'm an old guy. Been around the world. Overall, Hawaii has the best watermen in the world and they're gonna be here that morning, the very best in the world," said Thompson.

While city and county employees are prepping on their end, everyone else is being asked to learn an 'oli, or chant, to help welcome Hokulea home.

To listen to the chant, click here.

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