Before the Moananuiākea Voyage launches in June 2023, the Polynesian Voyaging Society is embarking on the Alaska Heritage Sail through the southeast region to pay homage to the Native Alaskan leaders and the places that played a part in building the longstanding relationship between Hawaiʻi and Alaska. The first stop for Hōkūleʻa is Yakutat to honor the late Byron Mallott. In 1990, under Mallott’s leadership, Sealaska, a corporation owned by the Tlingit, Haida and Tshimshian tribes of Southeast Alaska, gifted two 200-foot Sitka spruce logs to Hawai‘i to help construct the voyaging canoe Hawai‘iloa. This kind gesture, which came at a time of decline for koa, sparked reforestation efforts in Keauhou, Ka‘ū on Hawai‘i Island, and started the special bond between the native peoples of Southeastern Alaska and Hawai’i.
About the Moananuiākea Voyage: Moananuiākea is Hōkūleʻa’s 15th major voyage in her first 50 years. At the core of Hōkūleʻa’s creation was exploration – to uncover, recover, and reclaim. Reclaim our culture, traditions, and our relationship to home and our island earth. Moananuiākea is no different, but we are now guided by what the worldwide voyage told us – that we must deepen our values in the voyage and move from exploration and understanding to mālama, or caring, and kuleana, or taking responsibility. With those values, we must move discovery toward choices and actions that we believe will help build a future good enough for our children. This is our most difficult voyage yet because the destination is not ours. It will be the most difficult island yet to find, because it is the future of island earth.