Reception pays tribute to supporters of Hokulea and her worldwide journey


Hundreds gathered at the National Museum of the American Indian in downtown Manhattan Thursday night for a mahalo reception put on by the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

The event was the organization’s way of thanking all those who helped support Hokulea’s journey. Among them is a group called Halawai, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) established more than 10 years ago.

Leslie Morioka is a founding member. She explained “we actually had an association before that” made up of not just island transplants, but “all Hawaii lovers, shall we say.”

“What does it mean to you and this group to have Hokulea here,” KHON2 asked.

“As (Hokulea captain) Nainoa (Thompson) says about the worldwide voyage, it’s a pinnacle for us,” she replied. “It’s the epitome of what our mission is. Our mission is to preserve, perpetuate, foster, support not only the future, well the future of Hawaii and other Polynesian islands, so the mission of the voyage to build a sustainable future, a guiding value of malama honua, it’s all perfect.”

Morioka says the group has been preparing for this visit for years. “We first heard about it when it was first mentioned because a board member has a relative who’s now a crew member,” she explained.

Also Thursday, Hokulea captain Kalepa Babayan participated in a talk story at Patagonia.

On Friday, thousands are expected for the Liberty Challenge outrigger canoe race along the Hudson River.

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