Hawaii News

Hōkūleʻa, iconic Hawaiian vessel, departing for Alaska

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Hōkūle‘a in 2006. Painting by Herb Kawainui Kane. Photo Courtesy: Polynesian Voyaging Society

Hōkūleʻa – the world-famous Polynesian voyaging canoe – is preparing to leave the Hawaiian Islands for 47 months.

The canoe’s four-year Moananuiākea Voyage will begin Sunday, April 16, when she is transported to Juneau, Alaska via Matson, where she will meet up with her escort boat, gear, and supplies which were sent via Alaska Marine Lines.

Hōkūleʻa means “Star of Gladness.” She will first journey to Yakutat, Alaska to begin a pre-voyage “Heritage Sail” along the southeast region to pay homage to Native Alaskan leaders and the places that played a part in building the longstanding relationship between Hawaiʻi and Alaska.


On June 10, Hōkūleʻa is scheduled to arrive in Juneau where the canoe and crew will remain for a week of community and educational engagements.

Sailing into Yokohama, Japan, in 2007. Photo Courtesy: Polynesian Voyaging Society

On June 17, Hōkūleʻa will depart Juneau after a celebratory ceremony launching the start of the Moananuiākea Voyage, a circumnavigation of the Pacific.

Hōkūleʻa is operated by the Polynesian Voyaging Society. The first version of the canoe, which underwent its inaugural voyage to Tahiti in 1976, occupies an outsize role in the history of modern Hawai‘i and culture.


The Polynesian Voyaging Society completed the so-called Polynesian Triangle – a 10-million-square-mile area bounded by Hawai‘i, New Zealand and Easter Island – when the Hōkūleʻa sailed to Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, in 1999.

“As one woman put it when the canoe finally reached Rapa Nui: ‘You have not closed the triangle, you have opened it for us!'” Harvard Review editor and author Christina Thompson wrote in her 2022 book, “Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia,” which covers the Hōkūleʻa’s early voyages.

Hōkūle‘a on its way to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in 1999. Photo Courtesy: Polynesian Voyaging Society

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