When Hokule‘a embarked on its global voyage in late May, crew members took with them a pledge signed by some 21 environmental groups and public agencies to advance the goals of the canoe’s latest, most ambitious journey while back at home.
Since then, more groups have stepped forward to join Hokule‘a’s pledge for conservation and better environmental stewardship.
On Wednesday, members of the Maui Nui Makai Network signed the legally nonbinding pledge during a special wai (freshwater) ceremony at the Hawai‘i Conservation Conference, underway this week at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Members of the network from Maui, Lanai and Molokai agreed to take steps to protect, restore and conserve marine resources in their communities.
The network was formed in January 2013 and is pursuing nonprofit status, said Scott Crawford of member group Kipahulu ‘Ohana. It looks to join forces to better care for marine resources on those three islands, Crawford said.
The group also looks to link its efforts with those of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, which is organizing the Malama Honua (“Care for Our Earth”) worldwide voyage for Hokule‘a and its escort safety and science canoe, Hikianalia, said Eric Co, senior program officer for marine conservation at the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, which provides funding to Maui Nui.
The group looks to “make Hawaii a better place by the time Hokule‘a comes home in 2017,” Co said Wednesday.
Canoe crew members from the worldwide voyage’s recently completed first leg to Tahiti brought the pledge, bound in ohia wood, back to Honolulu so the network members could sign it at the convention, Co said. Other groups can also sign it before Co departs in late August to join Hokule‘a on its third leg of the voyage, he said.
PVS President and pwo (master) navigator Nainoa Thompson told Maui Nui members that their stewardship of marine resources in Hawaii is critical to Malama Honua’s success at sea.
“It’s a strong indication that the movement is happening,” Thompson said after the wai ceremony, in which network members poured water from their island regions into a single container. “It’s testimony to the power of community.”