HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Organizers of the Hokulea's homecoming at Magic Island are hoping thousands of people will chant in unison to welcome the voyaging canoe home.
Mele workshops organized by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs are scheduled islandwide, and are open to everyone whether you speak Hawaiian or not.
Kumu Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu is teaching participants three chants and a song, including chants by Mary Kawena Pukui, Manu Boyd, Pua Case and Hawaii's Pride by Eddie Aikau.
Pukui's chant, Ia Waa Nui, is an ancient prayer revived for the 1975 maiden launch of Hokulea at Kualoa.
On Friday, Office of Hawaiian Affairs staffers held a lunch and learn to chant.
Hokulea's arrival, they said, is a once in a life-time event.
"To be able to learn the chants and to be there and say I was a part of it," said OHA grant specialist Nancy King.
King was a college student when she witnessed Hokulea's first arrival from Tahiti at Kualoa in 1976.
"It was the coolest thing because here we are as Hawaiians reconnecting with Hawaiian renaissance, hula, language and hundreds and hundreds people waiting for the canoe after making this momentous voyage," said King.
Wong-Kalu said everyone is welcomed to learn and be a part of history.
During Friday's workshop, she helped participants chant with more passion and power.
She said it'll be "a mana-ful scene. We have much to be thankful for to Hokulea. I was inspired because of our double hulled canoe."
During the welcoming ceremony, there will also be a traditional kalii rite and ceremony to welcome a chief.
"It's the first time that we know of in 200 years that you'll see 8 spears being thrown at a young warrior and it will be for real," said OHA CEO Kamanaopono Crabbe. That warrior will be Sam Kapoi, brother of UFC featherweight champ, Max Hollway.