hokulea 1976

Hokulea at Kualoa, Kaneohe Bay, Oahu in 1976.
Photo courtesy: Polynesian Voyaging Society

Watch this video of Hokulea's 1976 voyage

Travel back to May 1, 1976, the day the Hawaiian long-distance voyaging canoe launched and the journey that followed.

Today marks the maiden voyage of the Hokulea, the first double-hulled Hawaiian voyaging canoe to set sail since the time of Kamehameha the Great, from the Hawaiian Islands to Tahiti. It was a major achievement that sparked a thriving interest, awareness and perpetuation of traditional, non-instrument Polynesian navigation to this day.

Adjacent to the current mission of Hokulea’s worldwide Malama Honua campaign, its May 1976 voyage primarily set out to prove that Hawaiians used traditional wayfinding knowledge to plan long-distance excursions and travel the Pacific Ocean with an intentional purpose: On May 1, 1976, the Hokulea aimed speficially for Tahiti and landed there.

This archival video, "Hokulea 1976," compiles scenes aboard the Hokulea's first voyage offering a glimpse into the daily routines of its original crewmembers and chroncling the roundtrip journey (to Tahiti and back to Honolulu) that ensued. Its most inspiring moments capture communities on both Tahiti and Honolulu coming together to celebrate the canoe. At Papeete Harbor on Tahiti alone, more than 17,000 people waited on the beach to greet the Hokulea and its crew.